Promoter Eddie Hearn fears if Anthony Joshua is defeated on April 1st by Jermaine Franklin then the former two-time unified heavyweight champion could well be finished at the highest level. Joshua (24-3) will be looking to get his career back on track against Franklin with Joshua coming back following back-to-back defeats to current the current unified champion Oleksandr Usyk, with the fights taking place in 2021 and 2022 respectively in London and Saudi Arabia.
Joshua was not short of options for his comeback fight after being touted to fight the likes of Tyson Fury (which collapsed), Deontay Wilder, and Andy Ruiz to name but a few. However, Franklin was selected following his controversial defeat to Dillian Whyte with many observers believing that the American had done more than enough to secure victory. Franklin himself was annoyed naturally at the result but in defeat has come to an opportunity to land himself victory against one of boxing’s biggest names.
Promoter Eddie Hearn who has handled all of Anthony Joshua’s career to date feels the fight between the pairing is a great one and admits that Joshua does have some questions to answer.
“I think it’s a great fight,” said Hearn during a recent interview with Seconds Out. “He had a tremendous fight with Dillian Whyte, showed how good he is. Obviously, AJ is coming off two defeats, a lot of question marks for him. I feel like Franklin will be the guy to tell us where he’s at.”
Hearn continues to add that he feels even in defeat to Whyte late last year that Franklin is a legitimate top fifteen-ranked fighter and that Joshua needs to win to get back to the level at which he feels he belongs. Although defeat would not make it impossible for Joshua to return again but would make it incredibly difficult to achieve and get an opportunity again at the top table of heavyweight boxing.
“I think it’s very difficult at world level and getting to fight for the world championship again," said Hearn when asked what happens if Joshua suffers defeat against Franklin. "I see Franklin as a top 15 guy but if you're gonna fight for the world title, you need to go through people like that. That’s really the pressure. I don’t think it’s a career ender but in terms of positioning yourself for a world title, it will be difficult to come back from.”