Joshua to announce opponent next week
Two-time heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua will announce his comeback opponent next week and promoter Eddie Hearn admits he is close to finalising the contracts for the British-Nigerian’s April 1 comeback.
The 33-year-old has not fought since August’s rematch defeat to Oleksandr Usyk which made it back-to-back defeats to the Ukrainian after a previous loss in September 2021.
Joshua’s last victory came over two years ago when he took down Kubrat Pulev.
And Hearn is keen to secure a big-name opponent who can put Joshua back on track to fight the likes of Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder.
There had been talk of a brutal battle against Filip Hrgovic, but he has been ordered to face Andy Ruiz Jr in an IBF eliminator.
Meanwhile, Hearn has also effectively ruled out Otto Wallin and Demsey McKean after revealing Joshua does not want to take on another southpaw since it doesn’t align with his plans to face other orthodox fighters.
That could leave Jermaine Franklin as the man to fight Joshua on April Fool’s Day, with the American looking to avenge November’s London defeat to Joshua’s rival, Dillian Whyte.
However, fans won’t have to wait too long to find out the former champ’s next opponent, as Hearn is currently finalising contracts with a plan to confirm the bout next week.
“(Franklin) is definitely in the mix. Demsey McKean is still in the mix,” he told Boxing Social.
“The link-up with a new trainer means a southpaw fighter, even though Joshua just boxed one of them twice, is not ideal. When you look at the future for Anthony Joshua, the future revolves around Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder and Dillian Whyte. They’re three orthodox fighters. It is likely that he will face an orthodox fighter next.
“I think Jermaine Franklin is a great fighter. People say ‘it’s definitely Franklin’. Nothing is signed and agreed with. But Franklin is coming off a fight where it was very close with Whyte. Some people felt he won that fight.”
A blockbuster summer rematch with Whyte is believed to be in the offing for the former unified world champion, provided he successfully emerges from his comeback bout this spring.