Eddie Hearn, promoter for two-time heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, says the British star’s career would be “in tatters” if he loses his upcoming fight with Jermaine Franklin.
Joshua will collide with Franklin on Saturday night at the O2 Arena in London.
Winless since 2020, Joshua is looking to recover after suffering back to back defeats at the hands of unified world champion Oleksandr Usyk.
Since suffering his losses, Joshua parted ways with one-fight trainer Robert Garcia and retained the services of veteran coach Derrick James.
“We hope to see a new and improved Anthony Joshua. There is a lot of pressure on this fight. You’ve got Jermaine Franklin here, who is about 28 pounds lighter than he was against Dillian Whyte fight. He’s now got a six pack and this is what happens when you’re fighting Anthony Joshua. It’s a chance for him [Franklin] to catapult himself in the world of the heavyweight division,” Hearn told The Daily Mail.
“For AJ, there is bundles of pressure. He’s back at the O2. He hasn’t boxed there for seven years. It’s where it all started for his debut and it’s a must win fight. I want to see the destructive Anthony Joshua that we all love to watch. But, Franklin is going to put up a tough task.”
Joshua would like to capture a world title for a third time, but his career – at least at the highest level – is certainly at stake in the upcoming bout.
“People talk about whether his career is over if he loses this fight. Well, his world title ambitions are in tatters if he loses this fight and that’s what’s important to him. Defeat would be devastating. So for that reason I think he tries to distance himself and say it’s just another fight but we all know there is a lot on the line on Saturday,” Hearn said.
“If AJ beats Jermaine Franklin in style people will moan and say that was an easy fight. If he struggles people will say he’s not the fighter he was. If he loses, that’ll be the end of his world. You can’t worry too much about what people say. You just have to believe in yourself and his resume is unbelievable. He is a two-time world heavyweight champion. He’s an Olympic gold medalist. What more can you do.”