Britain’s former twice world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua will make his ring return in London on April 1 against American Jermaine Franklin, promoters Matchroom and DAZN said yesterday.
The fight at the 02 Arena will be the first time in nearly seven years that Joshua, 33, has fought without a world title at stake.
The Briton has not fought since his second straight loss to Ukraine’s WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO champion Oleksandr Usyk in a title rematch in Saudi Arabia last August.
“Mentally and physically I feel ready,” said Joshua, who has a new trainer in Derrick James for the fight against a 29-year-old opponent.
“I want to put on a show and impress my coach as he has high standards. Franklin has a good style and a great attitude, which he has shown in recent fights.”
Franklin, who has a 21-1 record with 14 knockouts and whose first defeat was on points to Britain’s Dillian Whyte at Wembley Arena last November, said Joshua had “had his time.”
“I’m ready to show the world why it’s time for me to take my place at the top of the heavyweight division,” said Franklin. “Joshua had his time. It’s my time to shock the world! This fight isn’t going to the judge’s card. I will have win number 22 come April 1. That ain’t no April Fool’s joke.”