Anthony Joshua responded to his detractors in a fiery tirade before his return fight. Joshua, a British heavyweight, will compete for the first time since losing consecutive fights against Oleksandr Usyk, including the rematch in Saudi Arabia last August. ‘AJ’ will try to start his career over against American heavyweight Jermaine Franklin, who Joshua watched from the stands as he lost to Dillian Whyte late last year by a razor-thin margin of points.
Since parting ties with trainer Robert Garcia, the 33-year-old has been working with new trainer Derrick James, who also coaches Errol Spence Jr., to prepare for his upcoming US fight. Although displaying indications of development in a close points loss last year, Joshua has faced harsh criticism for his performances against Usyk for several months.
Joshua, though, claims in a heated rant before his comeback in London the following weekend that the respect and affection he formerly earned for possessing the belts vanished due to his defeats.
“It was a hard pill to swallow, and now I’m just in a place where it’s like, ‘f*** everyone, I’m doing this s*** for myself. I’m not going through that s*** anymore where I’m putting pressure on, ‘I’m going to do this, and I’m going to do that…,” said the boxing champion.
Given that Joshua’s extraordinary rise saw him win the unified world titles and hold them for numerous defenses, he now faces a rebuild for the first time in his career. Although he has had to bounce back from defeat after losing to Andy Ruiz Jr. in 2019, he might never again be in the title picture if he suffers another defeat.