Joshua is back as Hearn announces heavyweight comeback for April 1

Anthony Joshua will make his long-awaited return to the ring on April 1 at the O2 Arena live on DAZN against Jermaine Franklin in a non-PPV event. The American impressed fans with his fine showing against Dillian Whyte back in November, taking the Body Snatcher down to the wire, in a fight many had written him off in. 

‘All terms’ had reportedly been agreed upon as of last week and Express Sport understands that Franklin is set to receive a guaranteed purse of around £800,000, plus a chunk of the PPV pot which could boost his overall payday up to in excess of £2million.

Joshua has been out of action since sustaining his second consecutive loss to Oleksandr Usyk six months ago. The Watford powerhouse is looking to rebuild his career and has a three-fight plan in place for a third run at heavyweight gold.

Providing all goes well against Franklin, Joshua is expected to box Whyte in June before closing out the year with a blockbuster showdown against either Tyson Fury or Deontay Wilder. But the 989 Assassin is out to spoil those plans.  

“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.”

“I’m looking forward to stepping back into the ring on April 1 at The O2 in London.” said Joshua. “Mentally and physically I feel ready. 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. This will be my first fight broadcast on DAZN in the UK and it will be globally available on the platform. I want to thank DAZN for supporting both myself and the sport of boxing as a whole. I would also like to thank the team at 258 and Matchroom Boxing.”


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“What an incredible year Matchroom and DAZN have in store for fight fans around the world – and this is just the beginning,” said Matchroom Sport Chairman Eddie Hearn. “The UK’s biggest boxing star Anthony Joshua returns to our screens on April 1 as he looks to reclaim his spot as the number one Heavyweight on the plant. ‘AJ’ has reset and refocused and he is on a mission to defy his critics as he kicks off his exciting new partnership with DAZN.”

Joshua’s comeback fight has been announced as part of Matchroom Boxing’s blockbuster 2023 calendar which includes Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano’s rematch for all the belts at lightweight on May 20 in Dublin, Ireland.


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