Eddie Hearn, promoter of former heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, says he’s livid over the disrespect his fighter is getting from the boxing world.
“We live in a mad world,” Hearn said on a recent episode of The DAZN Boxing Show. “This guy has gone on a run where he’s beaten Charles Martin, Molina, Breazeale, Klitschko, Parker, Povetkin, Takam, Ruiz, Pulev, and fought Usyk twice, with no breaks, no easy nights. He comes off the back of one good fight with Usyk and one fight where he was dominated. He’s fought a pound-for-pound number one back-to-back.
“The disrespect on this man’s name is unbelievable. And I don’t care, end of the day, but what I’m telling you, people who want to downplay his achievements, people that want to say he’s finished in the sport, get f**king ready for the return of Anthony Joshua on April 1.
“This guy is out there, he’s in Texas, he’s working and grinding every day. This guy’s got money in the bank, he’s got world championship belts on the wall, he don’t care about either of them. He cares for the sport of boxing, he cares for regaining his world heavyweight title, and I’m telling you, he’s coming back with a vengeance.”
Keen boxing observers may beg to differ with Hearn.
The former 3-belt champ is on a nearly-four-year run of tepid performances where he’s gone 2-3. More troubling than the losses, however, was the seemingly lackadaisical, almost jovial way the big Brit accepted his defeats. In his shocking upset loss to Andy Ruiz in June of 2019 and his first loss to Oleksandr Usyk in September of 2021, Joshua seemed not the least bit bothered by the big career setbacks. It was then that the questions regarding his inner fire and desire started to bubble to the surface. The “good loser” attitude was gone after his second decision loss to Usyk in August of last year. It was replaced with a brief burst of bizarre post-fight bad sportsmanship that saw him throw two of Usyk’s belts out of the ring and deliver a cringey in-ring interview on the house mic.
But Joshua’s promoter insists that “AJ” is not only “back,” but that he was never really gone.
“Anyone who wants to doubt Anthony Joshua, this guy’s a fine young man who’s about to make an assault on the world heavyweight title again,” Hearn crowed. “I can’t wait, I’m so excited. I’m more excited than when this journey began.”
Hearn would also go on to defend Joshua’s reported choice of next opponent, the American Jermaine Franklin, who lost a controversial majority decision to Dillian Whyte this past November.
“The haters go, ‘Jermaine Franklin?’ And at the same time, those same haters say that Jermaine Franklin won the fight against Dillian Whyte by three or four rounds,” Hearn blasted.
“So what, so he didn’t win that fight? That wasn’t a great performance by Jermaine Franklin? Apparently, Anthony Joshua has no confidence, he’s a shot fighter, he’s finished, but he’s coming off those defeats to fight a guy that you say just beat Dillian Whyte by three or four rounds!
“He don’t want an easy fight. So if it’s Franklin, and he is the front-runner, it’s gonna be a great fight. And I’m telling you Anthony Joshua is coming back with vengeance in the heavyweight division.”
As it is with everything in boxing, time will be the ultimate truth-teller and reality-revealer. Fight fans will see soon enough whether Anthony Joshua can make his may back to world title glory and reclaim his status as one of the present tense greats.