Anthony Joshua intends to make Jermaine Franklin pay for the trash the American contender has talked during the promotion of their fight Saturday night.
The former IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO heavyweight champion didn’t predict anything other than a victory during their final press conference Wednesday in London. Joshua did deliver a message, however, to Franklin, who was seated a couple chairs away from him on the dais.
“The more he talks, the bigger grave he digs for himself,” Joshua told his longtime promoter, Eddie Hearn, who moderated the press conference. “But it is what it is. I can say a lot of things about him, but I respect my opponent. It’s not for me to talk. It’s for [Hearn] to do all the talking. It’s for me to like do my job on Saturday.
“And that’s just really, honestly, what I’m focused on, as I said, like from round one to round 12. I’m prepared for a 12-rounder. But I do believe in my ability, in my counterpunching and all of that type of stuff to definitely put a dent in Jermaine. But as I said, I’m not here to talk. I just do what I have to do because I really wanna win.”
The 33-year-old Joshua (24-3, 22 KOs), of Watford, England, will face Franklin (21-1, 14 KOs), of Saginaw, Michigan, in the ex-champion’s first fight since he lost a split decision to Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk (20-0, 13 KOs) in their 12-round rematch August 20 at Jeddah Superdome in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The 29-year-old Franklin tested Joshua’s rival, British contender Dillian Whyte, in his most recent appearance, a 12-round fight Franklin lost by majority decision November 26 at OVO Arena Wembley in London.
Their main event, which DAZN will stream worldwide, will also mark Joshua’s debut with a new trainer, American Derrick James, in his corner. Joshua expressed during the press conference how much he is looking forward to displaying what James, who also trains IBF/WBA/WBC welterweight champ Errol Spence Jr. and undisputed junior middleweight champ Jermell Charlo, has taught him.
“I think we’ll see blood and I just really look forward to getting in there,” said Joshua, who is listed as an 11-1 favorite by Caesars Sportsbook. “I’m so happy I’m fighting again because, as I said, looking at the champions, it’s just a shambles when you’re trying to complete mandatories or negotiations. Honestly, it’s like I just can’t believe that no fights have been made at the championship level. But I’m just so happy that I can get back to work and get on with my job. And I’m looking forward to this assignment, and I can’t wait, honestly. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.
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