By Peter Akinbo.
Anthony Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn has insisted that the British-Nigerian is desperate to reclaim the world titles and become a three-time heavyweight champion as he returns to the ring in April against Jermaine Franklin.
Joshua will look to resurrect his career against the American at London’s O2 Arena in what will be his first outing since consecutive losses to Oleksandr Usyk.
Defeat to Franklin would likely remove the Watford warrior from the world title picture, but promoter Hearn is confident the former two-time unified heavyweight champ will return to winning ways in style.
“It’s a really tough fight with loads of pressure to come back because if AJ doesn’t win this fight, then we’ve got a major problem. I believe you’ll see a statement from a guy who is very dangerous, very motivated to become a three-time heavyweight world champion,” Hearn told BBC.
Heavy-handed Franklin has been dismissed as an easy opponent for Joshua, despite going the distance with recent WBC title challenger Dillian White last November.
Hearn said, “There’s so much contradiction, ‘Anthony Joshua is finished, mentally he’s shot. ‘But he’ll knock out Jermaine Franklin inside three rounds.’
“The same people that say Jermaine Franklin beat Dillian Whyte but he’s a terrible opponent for Anthony Joshua, in a comeback fight after two defeats to the pound-for-pound number one.
“What this guy has done from a resume perspective is unbelievable. And I’m telling you now, this guy – still top-three heavyweight, capable of regaining his heavyweight world title.”
Although Hearn is confident Joshua will return to the win column, he admits it’ll be the end for the Olympian’s career if he suffers a third loss in a row.
“You go into that fight in April and you know that defeat, it’s all over, really. It would be a third back-to-back defeat and yet a great performance and a showroom knockout will get everyone saying, ‘We’re back, baby.’
“That’s what I can’t wait for because I love it when our backs are against the wall. I’m excited. I’m really excited. This is the most excited I’ve been in Joshua’s journey so far,” he told iFL TV.