Anthony Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, has admitted that the former unified heavyweight champion has lost some of his box office appeal, insists the pugilist can still bounce back to become the best boxer.
The 33-year-old two-time world champion is still suffering from the consequences of his back-to-back defeats to Ukrainian, Oleksandr Usyk.
But Joshua’s ring return nears and he hopes it will be a road back to world title contention, on April 1, in a must-win showdown against Jermaine Franklin at the O2.
However, despite Joshua previously having sold out stadiums at Wembley and Tottenham, there are still thousands of tickets unsold at the 20,000 East London arena.
And his Matchroom promoter Hearn feels that the successive losses to Usyk have had an impact on Joshua commercially.
He told ESBR Boxing, “He’s coming off two defeats, so of course you’re not going to be the same size commercially as you were when you beat Wladimir Klitschko in front of 90,000.
“But he’s a great fighter, he’s one of the best heavyweights in the world. I feel like he can still be the best heavyweight in the world.”
The British-Nigerian is looking to get back into title contention, however, and is starting things off with a tasty clash against American Franklin, who lost a narrow decision to Dillian Whyte at the tail-end of 2022, but most thought he did enough to win the fight.