Boxing needs a lift. For a long time it was Anthony Joshua who almost single-handedly carried the sport on his shoulders. The glory years are over for him, but now the spotlight is on AJ once again to bring him back to the reigns.
Fans have been disappointed after disappointment in the past few months. First, the farce of Conor Bean’s match with Chris Eubanks Jr. was canceled due to a previous failed drug test.
Fury then fueled our hopes by delivering Anthony Joshua the World Championship title – only then to pull the rug out from under him by setting last-minute deadlines. This month, with an apparently undisputed match against Oleksandr Usyk, talks were abruptly called off as the pair failed to agree terms.
Boxing was really good and rock bottom. But Joshua now has a chance to raise it again by securing a fight with Fury if he sees Jermaine Franklin at the O2 Arena on Saturday night, as previously reported. sportsmail.
With a bruised ego and an air of well and truly indomitable, this is uncharted waters for Joshua as he prepares for a new dawn.
Anthony Joshua could give boxing a major boost by setting up an epic fight against Tyson Fury (R)
But the British superstar will first have to get past Jermaine Franklin (R) on Saturday to have any chance of setting up the much-anticipated clash.
Opponents like these were seen as cannon fodder for AJ. When he faced Dominique Brezzell, Carlos Takam, Eric Molina and even Alexander Povetkin, we’d ask, “Which round is he going to knock him out?”. These days are not clear cut.
It’s been three years since we’ve seen AJ at his best when he bowled Kubrat Pulev in the ninth round at Wembley. Even before that, Joshua’s confidence and explosive style took a huge blow after he was stunned by Andy Ruiz Jr in 2019 – before he had to carefully outsmart him in a rematch in Saudi Arabia.
After consecutive defeats to Oleksandr Usyk, perhaps Joshua will finally be able to rediscover his old self, the side that made so many fall in love with boxing. It looked like the pressure had let him down, before Hearn revealed that Fury could be on the line if he beats Franklin.
The all-British dust he’s been craving for so long – that audiences have been craving for for a long time. The Matchroom promotional team is eager to re-establish itself after a few setbacks. Not only can Joshua win on Saturday night, he must win well to set the iron on fire and get Fury’s attention.
We need to see a statement in which Joshua wins by knockout to show he’s back in action and build excitement for what will be one of the biggest events in British boxing history. Anything less, and Fury will likely laugh it off. And he dare not lose. There will be no going back from that.
Not back in his career, most likely. No going back for Matchroom. Eddie Hearn – whose fighters now operate on streaming platform DAZN – has already lost a host of stars to Sky Sports. Joshua Boatsie, Lawrence Okolie, and Joseph Parker all defected to Boxer Rivals.
He also left Kell Brook and Amir Khan to start a grudge match with Ben Shalom’s company before sailing off into the sunset. Matchroom needed a big win for Joshua.
Hearn has made no secret of his trepidation about whether all of this worked out – and how much of a ride into Saturday’s big fight – that Joshua would face a tough opponent whose only defeat came in a majority decision defeat to Dillian White last year that was felt by many. It can swing the other way.
Joshua has lost his vulnerability and is striving to get back to his best self
The 33-year-old has reigned as world champion for five years and needs to rediscover his old ways to catch Fury’s attention.
His promoter Eddie Hearn has already admitted he is “nervous” about the fight knowing Fury is lying in wait for Joshua
He said, “I really think that as long as AJ is ahead of Franklin, we will see him against Fury in the summer. sportsmail this week.
This week I’ve had conversations with George Warren (son and advisor of Fury promoter Frank Warren) and the original contract is basically still in place.
People are talking about if his career would have been over if he lost this fight. Well, his world title aspirations fade if he loses this fight and that’s what’s important to him.
And we all know the timing is perfect now, because it’s happening because of the circumstances with Usyk. This is the last chance for this massive battle to happen. Now I’m more nervous about Saturday night.
last chance? maybe you can be. We all thought it came in the summer of 2021 when Fury and Joshua were locked up for a fight in Saudi Arabia before the King of Roma was forced to face Deontay Wilder after court arbitration.
Fury and Joshua called off negotiations to fight last year, but Gypsy King will entice a summer match
Anger needs an opponent after talks broke down for an undisputed clash against Oleksandr Usyk
Then we thought it was really the last chance when Fury offered Joshua a surprise wildcard back in November. Fury said he wasn’t interested in facing AJ again after he got tired of failed negotiations.
But if there’s one thing he loves, it’s making a lot of money. Fighting Joshua would save a lot more than he would have against Usyk.
Joshua believes the lucrative payoffs from their encounter mean Fury will always be tempted – claiming this week that his rival ‘needs’ him.
“There is no better time!” he said to the mirror. I feel with Fury now, provided the Usyk fight doesn’t happen and no one fights between them, I think he needs me right now.
We’ve tried to fight that fight three times. That (second) one was signed and stamped, I was already practicing on that and then it failed. Then we had this last one where I just lost and he gave me a deadline.
I took it and told Eddie, “Let’s look at the situation,” but it was hard when someone dictates to you and puts you under that much pressure.
Beating Franklin shouldn’t be a cakewalk for Joshua. At least not on paper.
Defeating Franklin won’t be an easy process for Joshua – but if he can get back to his winning ways, the rewards could be lucrative.
The 29-year-old is humble and unassuming yet gets his work done in the ring.
The American fighter from Saginaw, Michigan, has won 21 of his 22 bouts. Of those victories, 14 have come via knockout.
He showed toughness against Whyte in November and proved no pusharound. Whyte sealed the win thanks to scores of 115-115, 116-112, 116-112 – with Franklin claiming he was robbed. Regardless, his stock went up that night.
Joshua – who was watching the fight in the front row – would be tasked with beating not only a fighter who was never stopped, but also a fighter who was never knocked down.
If Joshua is the real deal – and if he’s going to resurrect his old explosive ways – he’ll have no problem putting Franklin to the sword. His career depends on it. Matchroom’s future depends on it. The boxing world is counting on it.