Ticket sales for Anthony Joshua’s comeback fight against Jermaine Franklin are an indicator of the decline in profile of the former world heavyweight champion – that’s the view of experienced journalist Gareth A Davies.
With the event just weeks away, seats at the 02 Arena in London are still readily available, a far cry from the days when Joshua was selling 80,000 tickets at Wembley or the Millennium Stadium.
Speaking on Talksport, Davies said he felt Joshua needed something “big” to kickstart some hype around his career again.
“Boxing fans have made their feelings known on Anthony Joshua’s bout with Jermaine Franklin on April 1st, with thousands of tickets still left unsold at the 02 Arena.”
“What’s the issue with ‘AJ’ right now? He’s always had a less is more strategy [for promotion]. Is it time for change?”
“We had the London Olympics that created a springboard for him, but that’s 11 years ago now. I feel like he needs something – and he needs something big.”
Though the ticket sales are no doubt a concern, Joshua must have his eyes fully focused on his in-ring performance, as defeat to Franklin would almost certainly put an end to his aspirations of becoming a three time heavyweight champion of the world.
It will be his first outing under new trainer Derrick James, having spent the last couple of months training at James’ gym in Dallas, Texas.
There is hope that the aggressive style James’ imprints on his fighters, coupled with getting away from prying eyes in the UK, could bring out the best version of Joshua fans have seen in years.
Franklin proved against Dillian Whyte last time out that he is no mug, however, and will have all the confidence in the world of upsetting the applecart on April 1st.