British boxer Anthony Joshua has laughed off Jermaine Franklin’s threat of a knockout in their bout on Saturday, with the former world heavyweight champion insisting the American has picked the “worst time” to face him.
Joshua will make his long-awaited return to the ring at London’s O2 Arena this weekend.
The 33-year-old is bidding for his first win since 2020 after successive defeats by Oleksandr Usyk saw the former Olympic champion lose, and then fail to regain, several versions of the world heavyweight title.
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It will be the first time in eight years that Joshua is not fighting for a world title.
“It is the worst time to face me,” Joshua told reporters on Wednesday.
“The more he talks, the bigger grave he digs for himself but it is what it is. I could say a lot of things about him but I respect my opponent.
“It is not for me to talk, it is for you to do all the talking and for me to do my job on Saturday. That is really honestly what I am focused on from round one to round 12.”
Joshua, whose professional record stands at 24 wins, 22 by way of knockout, and three defeats, has changed trainers ahead of this weekend’s bout, with Dallas-based Derrick James taking over from Robert Garcia.
He said he was relishing his return to action in front of a home crowd following the collapse of a heavyweight title unification bout between British rival Tyson Fury and Ukraine’s Usyk.
“There will be entertainment regardless. I think we will see blood and I just really look forward to getting in there again,” Joshua said.
“I’m so happy I’m fighting again because when you look at the champions now, it is just a shambles when you are trying to compete with mandatories and negotiations.
“Honestly I can’t believe no fights have been made at championship level.”
Franklin lost narrowly to Dillian Whyte at Wembley Arena in November but stressed he is better prepared for this fight.
“I’m more ready, I’m more in shape and I’m ready to let the fireworks go. I will get the win by any means possible,” he said.