Promoter Eddie Hearn believes that Anthony Joshua must be on his A game to beat American heavyweight, Jermaine Franklin.
Joshua is coming off of two consecutive defeats to Oleksandr Usyk, but has aspirations to become a three-time heavyweight world champion. That road begins with Franklin, who’s last outing saw him lose on points to Dillian Whyte in a close contest.
Speaking to Steve Bunce on 5 Live Boxing, Hearn talked up the American as an opponent.
“Anthony Joshua’s next fight is at the O2 Arena. He could sell it out against you, Buncey. He’s chosen an opponent that’s full of confidence, probably not the easiest style for AJ – an upright heavyweight, small guy, old school fighter who’s going to come to win – it’s gonna be a brilliant fight.”
Much has been made about Joshua’s mentality, with many fans pointing to his shock stoppage loss at the hands of Andy Ruiz Jr in 2019 as a turning point in his career.
Hearn knows that if his fighter isn’t mentally strong against Franklin it could be curtains – although he’s convinced that won’t be the case. He also believes that it will be an opportunity for fans to see that ‘AJ’ is still in his prime.
“And if AJ is past his best or is mentally not up to it, he will get beat on April the 1st. But I believe he’s going to come back with vengeance.
He’s won two world heavyweight titles, he’s got bundles of money – he’s out in Texas, grafting away in some sweat box gym, not in a mansion, just in local digs, grinding every day because he’s that driven to be the best and regain his world heavyweight title.”
Finally, the promoter stated that he would like to see Joshua compete for personal reasons rather than to crowd-please or gain media attention.
“I think you get to a stage where you have to just say, as a fighter or a person, F you. I’ve given everybody all my time, andif you don’t want to support me, I’m doing this for me now. And I think this is the time where AJ needs to do it for himself rather than everybody else, which I think he’s spent a lot of his career doing.
The backlash of losing to Ruiz, and people questioning him, it did hurt him. Because everybody loves to be loved – and all of a sudden he’s like ‘wow, why the hate?'”