Anthony Joshua’s back is against the wall and he’s facing a true “must-win” challenge this Saturday at the O2 Arena in London against Jermaine Franklin. With back-to-back losses to Oleksandr Usyk in his last two outings and a 2-3 record in his last five bouts, the former 3-belt heavyweight champ can’t afford a backward step.
In the final press conference for this upcoming event, Joshua let it be known that he not only understands what’s riding on this bout, but that he’s also up to the task.
"It’s big, it’s massive. It’s a big fight for me, for sure," Joshua told the assembled media. "I respect my opponent fully and respect everything he"s been through and we"re here to rock and roll…I dream big and I want bigger and better things in my life. As I stated in the last press conference, I want to secure the bag and move on in my life.
"The goal is not to make it back to the corner, the goal is to take him out…
"When you strip boxing back, it is very basic. A lot of it is down to self belief number one and just knowledge. You gain knowledge and apply it along the way. You fight with desire and then you can add some skills along the way. I was based in the Olympic gym in Sheffield for years. Obviously it’s a big set up because you"ve got hundreds of fighters and international fighters coming in. In the world class boxing gym in Texas, there’s a few of us pros just putting in the ground work. That is probably what you saw was difference is that I am not around hundreds of fighters in the gym. It is just three or four of us putting in the work. But when you disconnect from everything, which is hard to do in this day and because we"re so connect, but I took myself away to disconnect myself and all the questions I have been asking myself, the answers came. It was quiet time and it has been a good camp."
As for opponent Franklin and the big word and big promises he’s been offering up, Joshua claims to be above the effort at intimidation.
"The more he talks, the bigger grave he digs for himself but it is what it is. I could say a lot of things about him but I respect my opponent. It is not for me to talk, it is for you to do all the talking and for me to do my job on Saturday. That is really honestly what I am focused on from round one to round 12. I am prepared for a 12-rounder but I do believe in my ability, my counter-punching and all that type of stuff to definitely put a dent in Jermaine. But I am not here to talk, I am here to do what I have to do because I really want to win.
"Yeah, that is personal and to show my coach [new trainer Derrick James] that I respect the time he has put in with me. In terms of entertaining, we don’t play boxing, but at the same time people from years back and the empires, they love people coming together and fighting. There will be entertainment regardless. I think we will see blood and I just really look forward to getting in there again. I’m so happy I’m fighting again because when you look at the champions now, it is just a shambles when you are trying to compete with mandatories and negotiations, honestly I can"t believe no fights have been made at championship level. I am so happy I can get back to work, get on with my job and I am looking forward to this assignment. I can"t wait honestly. I am really looking forward to it."