Anthony Joshua has announced that he will have his comeback fight against Jermaine Franklin on April 1 at the O2 Arena in London.
This will be Joshua’s first bout without at least one world title on the line in almost seven years.
Watford’s Joshua had unified the WBO, WBA and IBF heavyweight titles between 2016 and 2018.
He lost them when Andy Ruiz stopped him in New York in 2019, but he reclaimed them in an immediate rematch later that year.
Top Rank promotor, Bob Arum, believes that Eddie Hearn never wanted the Anthony Joshua vs Tyson Fury fight to happen.
He has, however, only won one bout since then, a 2020 stoppage victory over Kubrat Pulev.
Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk, unbeaten and formerly an undisputed champion down at cruiserweight, outboxed and outpointed Joshua at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in 2021.
Last August, Joshua, with new trainer, Robert Garcia, in his corner, took him on a second time but was also defeated in that rematch in Saudi Arabia.
Joshua has not boxed since then but has subsequently changed his training set up once again.
He will return with a new trainer, Derrick James.
“I want to put on a show and impress my coach as he has high standards,” Joshua said. “Franklin has a good style and a great attitude, which he has shown in recent fights.
“Mentally and physically, I feel ready,” he added. “I’m looking forward to stepping back into the ring on April 1.” —Sky Sports