Two-time former unified world heavyweight champion of the world Anthony Joshua has revealed he will step into the boxing ring again within the next three months following his unanimous decision victory over Jermaine Franklin on April 1. If Joshua stays true to his word, the former Olympic Games gold medalist will be back in action before the end of July.
Boxers are not usually known for such a quick turnaround after a fight, especially in the heavyweight division. Traditionally, Joshua’s fights have been between nine and 12 months apart, but he recently signed a multi-million dollar deal with streaming service DAZN, which could be influencing his decision to return to the fray as soon as possible.
Joshua went into the Franklin bout as a clear favorite to win with popular sports sites. Although Joshua controlled his latest fight against Franklin at The O2 Arena in London, England, from start to finish, his failure to knock out Franklin did not go unnoticed within the boxing community. However, Joshua needed a positive result after losing three of his last five fights, including back-to-back defeats against Oleksandr Usyk.
“AJ” was unbeaten in 22 professional fights before taking on Andy Ruiz Jr. in June 2019. Ruiz Jr. helped himself to Joshua’s WBA, IBF, WBO, and IBO heavyweight titles after a shock TKO victory in the seventh round. Joshua got his titles and belts back later in the year via a unanimous decision victory, although he was less-than-convincing in that victory.
After knocking out Kubrat Pulev in December 2020, Joshua attempted to defend his heavyweight titles against Ukraine’s Usyk, but it did not go to plan. Usyk outboxed Joshua throughout the fight on September 2021 and almost stopped Joshua in the last round. Joshua and Usyk stepped into the ring for a rematch in August 2022, with Usyk again coming out on top. After an emotional post-fight interview and Joshua breaking down in tears, boxing experts believe Joshua’s career could have been over.
Start of the Comeback Trail
Joshua agreed to fight American Jermaine Franklin, and the pair stood toe-to-toe on April 2, 2023, at The O2 Arena, in London, England. Joshua tipped the scales at 255.25 pounds, the heaviest weight of his career. Everyone thought the additional weight was to help Joshua emphatically knock out Franklin, but that never happened. Judges scored 117-111, 117-111, and 118-111 in Joshua’s favor.
The next Joshua opponent is under wraps right now; even Joshua neglected to say who he will fight next. Joshua said to the BBC, “It was nine months since I was last in the ring. I don’t want to leave it that long again. I want to be back there in the next three months. I’m definitely going to be fighting in the next three months, against who? It’s still unknown.”
In his post-fight interview following his unanimous decision over Franklin, Joshua expressed his desire to take on undefeated WBC champion Tyson Fury. Joshua stated he would be 100% honored to compete for the WBC championship of the world.
Is a fight with Fury likely? In a word, no. The boxing community wanted to see Joshua versus Fury when Joshua held his four titles, but for whatever reason, it never happened. Fury was set to take on Usyk in April, but negotiations broke down, apparently because Fury demanded the insertion of a rematch clause. Fury should be fit and ready to fight if Joshua came calling, although a fight of that magnitude would take several months to promote because of the sheer amount of money on the line.
In addition, although Joshua claims he wants to fight Fury, anyone who knows anything about heavyweight boxing knows Fury would beat Joshua with one arm tied behind his back.