Anthony Joshua is ready for the next phase of his career. Speaking with Sky Sports News ahead of his must-win April 1 comeback fight with Jermain Franklin, the former two-time heavyweight champ said he has no longer got “anything to protect,” as in world titles or an unbeaten record. Joshua says he is looking at himself “as a contender” and he is eager to see how he feels when walking to the ring as one.
Joshua says he is still “searching for greatness.”
“When you’re searching for greatness, when you’re searching for better you’ve got to go outside of your comfort zone and go looking and searching,” Joshua said. “I ended up in Texas and Derrick James is a good coach amongst many other trainers out there. I felt Derrick was a good fit for me. I’m looking at myself as a contender. When you have the belts and are champion, you have to fight a certain way. Because [you’re going against] someone who’s coming to take what you have. There’s different mindsets to you trying to protect what you have. Now I haven’t got anything to protect so I’m going to come in with a different mindset so that’s what’s different about it.”
It could be that Joshua feels as though the pressure is off him now. Hungry to reach the top once again, Joshua the contender could prove to be a looser, more confident fighter than he has been in some years. We will find out on the night. But AJ understands how he needs to rebuild and he says he will do so, starting with the Franklin fight; Franklin being a fighter the 33 year old says he “respects” and will “take seriously.”
Joshua will of course be under intense scrutiny in his latest comeback fight, with his critics looking for any flaw he may show during the fight. But Joshua does seem to be in a pretty good place right now. Let’s hope he can put it all together on the night and that his partnership with trainer James works out. Plenty of people are saying how AJ doesn’t merely need to win, that he needs to look great in doing so.
Can Joshua take Franklin out and does he feel he needs to do so?