Anthony Joshua: Back on track or beginning of the end


Even Anthony Joshua was not impressed with Anthony Joshua.

“I am a bit disappointed. It wasn’t a knockout and the people are bored of 12-rounders, it’s annoying,” the 33-year-old said shortly after he was declared winner against Jermaine Franklin.

On his return to the ring after back-to-back losses against Oleksandr Usyk, Joshua won the bout by unanimous decision.

The fight was scored 118-111, 117-111, 117-111 in Joshua’s favour.

It is instructive that the venue for the Joshua-Franklin bout was the O2 Arena, where the Briton had made his debut 10 years ago.

But it could as well be the place where it has become evident that Joshua might never be top in boxing anymore.

By the end, Joshua’s white shorts were coloured blood red. His nose was leaking, his face was swollen and the little buzz around his homecoming had faded.

What next for him?

“I think Joshua has taken on the challenge of finding his way back to the top and we’ll see how that goes,” Biola Kazeem, a Sports Marketing and Communications executive, tells DAILY POST.

“He needs a couple of wins, one of them a statement win to be seen as a top dog again.

“The heavyweight division is very limited in quality so it is very possible.”

After the bout against Franklin, a number of options would likely be discussed with Joshua keen to make an immediate return in the summer, which could include domestic rivals Dilian Whyte and Joe Joyce.

Promoter Eddie Hearn said on MMA Hour: “Dillian Whyte, Otto Wallin, Joe Joyce is another big fight, it’s a tough fight, so who knows.

“But, if we’re going to go in to a [Tyson] Fury or a [Deontay] Wilder, which is inevitable, I just want him to go in with the best chance that he can have and I feel right now he’s not at the optimum level he could be to go into those fights.

“The general feeling is we need another fight, a step up from Franklin. I want him to box in July and then again in December, and I think it will do him good to have a couple of weeks off now and then go straight back to Texas with Derrick James.”

Kazeem, however, sounds a note of caution to Joshua and Hearn ahead of his next fight.

“He has to find a way back to the Joshua [we knew] before Andy Ruiz. The Joshua we see after that fight is a tentative one lacking aggression and obviously struggling with self belief.

“It’s a long way back but he came from nothing at 18 and fought his way to the top so I can’t rule him out,” Kazeem added.