Anthony Joshua will take part in first non-world title fight since Dillian Whyte fight in 2015 but AJ has warned Jermaine Franklin is a ‘dangerous opponent’ who ‘will bring it’

Anthony Joshua will take part in his first non-world title fight since 2015 but has been warned that his next opponent is still “dangerous”.

It’s Joshua’s first non-title fight since beating Dillian Whyte in December 2015 – but the two-time world champion has been warned his opponent, Jermaine Franklin, won’t be a walk in the park.

Match room

Joshua will be back in the ring in April

The duo will face off at London’s O2 Arena on April 1 in their first outing since losing in their rematch to Oleksandr Usyk.

Since knocking out Whyte in the same venue for the UK title, Joshua has been involved in 12 successive world title fights.

He is desperate to find his way back to winning ways after back-to-back losses on points to Usyk, with his last victory against Kubrat Pulev in 2020.

Speaking about his fight with Franklin, Joshua said: “I can’t wait to get back in the ring.

“Mentally and physically, I feel ready. I want to put on a show and impress my coach because he has high standards.

“Franklin has a good style and attitude, which he’s shown in recent fights.”

Franklin felt 'robbed' after fight with Whyte, now he'll face Joshua

Match room

Franklin felt ‘robbed’ after fight with Whyte, now he’ll face Joshua

Joshua's last non-world title fight saw him beat Whyte by seventh-round knockout

Getty Images – Getty

Joshua’s last non-world title fight saw him beat Whyte by seventh-round knockout

Meanwhile, his opponent has only lost once in 22 fights, that loss to Whyte on points in November.

“I’m ready to show the world why it’s time for me to take my place at the top of the heavyweight division,” he said.

“Joshua had his time. It’s time for me to shock the world.

Former European super bantamweight champion and talkSPORT broadcaster Spencer Oliver has told boxing fans that the American should not be underestimated.

Oliver thinks Franklin will give Joshua a good challenge


Oliver thinks Franklin will give Joshua a good challenge

Speaking on Drive, Oliver said: “Jermaine Franklin was a bit of an unknown quantity when he came in November and boxed Dillian Whyte and he proved a tough client.

“A lot of people thought that actually he might do well in this fight against Dillian Whyte, so Franklin has a lot to gain, and when somebody has a lot to gain, he’s going to come and bring his best match.

“You have to remember Franklin will come in with a lot of confidence after the Whyte loss because a lot of people felt he won that fight.

“But Anthony Joshua’s confidence at the moment is also at rock bottom. It’s about rebuilding Anthony Joshua and really reinventing him.

“He’s been to America, has a new coach Derrick James in his corner, so they’re going to be working on new things.”

When asked by co-host Darren Bent if it would be difficult for Joshua to prepare to face someone who doesn’t pose the same threat as Usyk, Oliver said, “Franklin will bring it, you know.

“He’s a guy that not many people will recognize, not many people will give Joshua credit for taking on this opponent. But he’s a living opponent, he’s a dangerous opponent and I give him credit for that.

“I think he has a right to that. Every fighter is when they come back and for me, Franklin fits the bill.

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