Anthony Joshua has lost three of his last five bouts. He’s lost his last two contests to Oleksandr Usyk. He had a bit of a mental breakdown after his last Usyk lost, tossing two of Usyk’s belts outside the ring after the judges’ decisions were read and delivering an odd post-fight monologue on the arena mic.
The two-time former three-belt heavyweight champ, though, insists that he’s not done. As a matter of fact, he says that he’s never felt better or more focused.
Working under the supervision of new trainer Derrick James, Joshua is set to face American Jermaine Franklin at the O2 Arena in London on April 1. At the kickoff press conference in London on Thursday, the big Brit talked about this new chapter of his career and his rededication to the sport that brought him such wealth and fame.
“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 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 about his opponent Franklin, the Saginaw, Michigan native who is best known for a majority decision loss to Dillian Whyte at Wembley Arena this past November, Joshua had nothing but good things to say.
“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…He’s got a lot of talent and a lot of skill, and he’s built himself up the ranks.”
Joshua also talked up the benefits of having new trainer, Derrick James in his corner. The Houston-based trainer also works with Errol Spence, Jermell Charlo, and lightweight contender Frank Martin.
“With Derrick here, we’ve got some tricks up our sleeves, and we’re looking forward to April,” Joshua said.
And what about his motivation in this latest chapter of his career? Joshua was upfront about what motivates him to keep fighting.
“Money, money, money. I like making money straight up,” Joshua crowed. “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.”
The former champ is definitely coming off a rough patch in his career and has been written off by a lot of people. The 33-year-old insists, though, that he’s far from done and that there’s plenty of life left in his career. Joshua made a point of telling the world on Thursday that he’s hungrier and more focused than ever and that he’s ready to pick up where things fell off the night he was upset by Andy Ruiz at Madison Square Garden June of 2019.
“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.”