Anthony Joshua drops crucial hint ahead of heavyweight bout

Anthony Joshua

Anthony Joshua says he will retire from boxing if he loses against Jermaine Franklin on Saturday at the O2 Arena.

The two-time world champion is making his return to the ring this weekend to face the American heavyweight after successive defeats to Oleksandr Usyk.

Joshua will be looking to win his first professional fight since December 2020 but has admitted he will step away from boxing if he loses a third successive bout.

“I will. I will retire if I lose. I’m not here to battle people. If people want me to retire I will retire,” he told MailOnline.

“I’m not going to fight if people don’t want me too. It’s not even about the money. It’s about the competitor in you. That’s what’s important.

“It [pressure] comes with the business and it comes with the territory, I know that.

“I know when I am retired, I am gonna be chilling. I’m gonna be thinking f**k everyone. I am done.

“You lot put so much pressure on me so when I am done, the chains are going to be gone. I am going to be laughing and loving life.”

Lawrence Okolie has sparred with Anthony Joshua before and knows the former world champion well.

Although Joshua may be under pressure against Franklin in this next fight, Okolie believes he can handle it.

“He’s been in high-pressure situations for a long, long time,” Okolie told Sky Sports News.

“That’s 10 plus years now [since his Olympic Games]. We spoke this weekend, he’s in good spirits. He’s feeling strong, fit and he’s done a lot of sparring. So I don’t want to speak for him but I expect to go in there and put on a great show.

“This is world-class boxing so I don’t expect him to necessarily go and get it done in one round. But I expect him to win in impressive fashion.”

Former WBO cruiserweight champion Johnny Nelson expects Joshua to beat Franklin but thinks the 33-year-old should retire if he loses.

“I’d expect Anthony Joshua to get it done. But Jermaine Franklin is 29 years old, (has had) 22 fights, won 21, stopped 14 of his opponents and in his last fight against Dillian Whyte people say he should have won. But that’s questionable,” he said.

“My big question is this: Anthony Joshua, after losing two fights on the bounce, has had to relook at his confidence to think ‘who am I, do I belong here, do I want this?’

“For Anthony Joshua that’s everything. Because he’s had to go through a bit of turmoil, mentally, emotionally and come to terms with the fact that he’s no longer the best fighter, officially, in the world.

“He’s got to get in the queue again like everybody else. If Anthony Joshua loses, he jacks it in. If he doesn’t jack it, he should jack it. Because it’s a hard mountain to climb.

“Especially when you’ve had the success and the heights that he’s had. So he can’t afford to lose. That’s a must. Then from that, it’s confidence building.”

Sky Sports

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