Anthony Joshua, Jermaine Franklin and teams talk up April 1 fight in London press conference
Anthony Joshua telling the media that he was in boxing for the money saw him grab headlines based on his financial goals at today’s press conference to announce his next fight.
However, Joshua later explained the context behind his bullish statement saying that he wanted to share his wealth with those less fortunate than him and those who he might not be able to spend time with but who he can help.
It was not, Joshua later said, about the bling.
Regardless, Joshua’s cash talk left many talking about him and his New Dawn – as it is billed – when he fights Michigan contender Jermaine Franklin on April 1 at the O2 Arena in London.
Franklin is 21-1 and he was flanked by promoter Dmitriy Salita, who said Franklin’s close decision loss to Dillian Whyte last year proved that the American heavyweight could fight on the road and of the underdog status his man had, Salita added “the critics are going to be quiet.”
Promoter Eddie Hearn admitted that any opponent would see defeating Joshua as their own pot of gold, but Salita went about trying to plant seeds of doubt in Joshua’s head at today’s press conference by comparing Franklin with the first man who beat Joshua in the professionals, Andy Ruiz.
Then, with a nod to Joshua’s new trainer Derrick James, Salita spoke of Franklin’s relationship with trainer Jesse Addison, who the fighter has been with since he was 12.
“Derrick James is a great trainer,” said Salita. “But there’s only so much you can do in three months.”
Franklin, who felt he beat Whyte by seven rounds to five, said he had grown in confidence and felt like his performance against Whyte earned him the Joshua fight, forcing him ahead of Dillian in the queue.
“I believe I can beat anybody,” said Franklin. “If you don’t believe in yourself, you’re in the wrong sport.”
“Jermaine is a very good fighter, so we’re definitely taking him seriously,” replied James. “It’s about Anthony being the fighter he wants to be, and the fighter he needs to be and building the best version of himself.”
Joshua said he had never been more focused than at this point in his career and that joining James in Texas has limited his distractions.
“I still feel fresh and young,” said the former heavyweight champion. “Everything I’ve been through, positive and negative, I’ve taken with me [as his career has gone on as lessons learned]. I’ve got rid of distractions so I could put my heart back in the game. I’ve put my heart in boxing and nothing else. It [boxing]’s not just your mind, it’s your heart.”
Later, having been asked what motivates him and replying “Money, money, I like making money, straight up, I’m a prizefighter,” he said that it was about making a fortune he could share, so he could bring people into his circle rather than use it as a tool to distance himself from friends, families and communities.