Despite speculation to the contrary, Anthony Joshua insists that he’s not done as an elite-level heavyweight. As a matter of fact, the two-time heavyweight champ says that he’s geared up for another run at the top and, with new trainer Derrick James at his side, he insists that he’s more serious than ever.
The first test of the big Brit’s new resolve will come against American Jermaine Franklin at the O2 Arena in London on 1 April. Speaking at the kickoff press conference in London this past Thursday, Joshua had a thing or two to say about this next chapter of his career.
“I’ve always tried to make an empire but I made a conscious decision last year to put my heart into boxing and nothing else,” Joshua told the assembled media.
“So many fighters go to the gym every day but there is a difference when you put your heart into it. I have had to get rid of a lot of distractions in my life and things so I can put my heart back into the game.
“Throughout my career this is probably the most serious time I’ve taken it. Everything I’ve been through– positive, negative– I’m using it to fuel this camp.
“Locked in. It’s a serious opponent, I respect all my opponents.”
When asked to comment on Franklin, the Saginaw, Michigan native who is best known for a recent majority decision loss to Dillian Whyte at Wembley Arena, “AJ” was short, but positive.
“He’s coming to fight. That will make me keep my feet on the ground.
“I compare him to some of the old school fighters,” Joshua said of Franklin. “He’s got a lot of talent and a lot of skill, and he’s built himself up the ranks.”
Joshua also talked about his new trainer, the Texas-based James, who also works with Errol Spence and Jermell Charlo.
“With Derrick [James] here, we’ve got some tricks up our sleeves, and we’re looking forward to April,” Joshua said.
And his motivation in this latest leg of his career? Joshua isn’t shy about telling the world that he’s a prizefighter fighting for the ultimate material prize.
“Money, money, money. I like making money straight up,” Joshua said. “This is a prize-fighting sport. I’ve been broke, my family has been broke. I do it because I’m good at it, and I hustle hard.
“When it’s all said and one, no one will care about me anymore, so I’ve got to make the most of it while I’m here.”
As for a bit of career retrospection and analysis of a road to glory that first got derailed back in June of 2019.
“In looking at the Andy Ruiz fight, you could see something wasn’t right. If people want to live off that, they can live off that. When you watch the fights on TV, that’s one thing, but when you step in the ring with me, it’s another thing.”
The former champ is 2-3 in his last five fights and is coming off back-to-back defeats at the hands of Oleksandr Usyk. Joshua insists, though, that at 33 he’s far from done and has plenty left in the proverbial tank. He claims to be more focused and hungrier than ever, ready to take back top dog status in the heavyweight division.
“I still feel fresh & young. Like I said, I adapted to certain fights, so I didn’t take crazy punishment. I still feel fresh…I made a conscious decision last year to put my heart back into boxing and nothing else.”
Boxing fans will get their first glimpse of the supposedly refocused, reenergized Anthony Joshua on April 1.