‘Money, money, money’: Anthony Joshua honest about motivation for Jermaine Franklin fight

The heavyweights came face to face at a news conference in London, where they will clash in April

Alex Pattle
London
Thursday 09 February 2023 17:04 GMT
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FILE: Joshua return to action confirmed for April, will fight Franklin after Usyk defeats

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Anthony Joshua has been honest about his motivation for his fight with Jermaine Franklin, saying at a news conference in London: “Money, money, money. I like making money, straight up.”

After two straight decision losses to Oleksandr Usyk, Joshua will return to the ring on 1 April for a heavyweight showdown with Franklin at the O2 Arena.

Briton Joshua dropped the unified world heavyweight titles to Usyk in 2021 before failing to regain them from the unbeaten Ukrainian last August. Meanwhile, American Franklin last boxed in November, suffering a controversial points defeat by Dillian Whyte. That result marked the first loss of Franklin’s professional career.

At a news conference in London on Thursday (9 February), “AJ” said he is feeling “serious, focused, locked in”.

“I’m there to f***ing work,” the 33-year-old said. “Sorry for my language, everyone. It’s a serious fight, good opponent. I respect all my opponents. If he had the belts, I’d take him the same way.

“I compare him to some old-school fighters. People feel like boxing’s based on popularity, but it isn’t. It’s based on skill, and he’s got a lot of skill. But when you watch [my] fights on TV, it’s one thing; when you step in the ring with me, it’s another thing.”

Joshua was also honest about his motivation for the next phase of his career.

“Money, money, money,” he said. “I like making money, straight up. I’ve been broke, my family’s been broke, I know what this s*** means. I always built businesses outside of boxing, out of fear of going back to square one, but when I’m said and done, no one will care about me anymore, so I’ll make the most of it while I’m here.

“My own expectations are my pressure, but pressure is being broke, worrying about your bills. Look what’s happening in Syria, Turkey – the earthquake that just happened. Me going to fight is a blessing, no pressure.

“I still feel really fresh and young. I made a conscious decision last year to put my heart into boxing and nothing else. It’s not just the mind, where your head’s at, it’s your heart.”

Joshua also addressed his decision to partner with his new coach Derrick James, who replaces Robert Garcia, who in turned took over from Rob McCracken after AJ’s first loss to Usyk.

Joshua (right) with his new coach Derrick James
Joshua (right) with his new coach Derrick James (Getty Images)

“Derrick here, he’s got some tricks up his sleeve for sure,” Joshua said of the American, with whom he has been training in Texas. “You’ve seen [my] development up until now, I’ve always tried to adapt my style, because heavyweight boxing is about longevity.

“I ain’t seen anything [of Texas], I’m not there for anything else [but training]. Throughout my entire career, I think this is probably the most serious I’ve taken it – in terms of my eating, my sleeping.”

James added: “The world hasn’t seen the best of Anthony Joshua, especially the guy I’ve been working with in the gym.

“I’m taking Franklin very serious, I know Anthony is taking him very serious. I think that it’s about Anthony being the fighter he wants to be, it’s not about anything else; it’s about his legacy and trying to improve and be the best version of himself that night.

“The time we have, three months, is not a lot, but it depends what level you’re working on. He’s a very intellectual fighter. I won’t talk about what I’m most impressed with, because that’s a giveaway.”

Meanwhile, Franklin said: “I got the utmost confidence, I believe I can beat anybody. If you doubt yourself, you’re in the wrong sport. It’d be an excellent moment for my career, [beating Joshua]. I’ve got the will, I’ve got the heart for it. I’m ready to go to war.”

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