Former two-time heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua has given himself an ultimatum.
The 2012 Olympic gold medalist claims he will retire from boxing if he loses Saturday night in his upcoming 12-round, non-title bout with contender Jermaine Franklin at London's O2 Arena.
Joshua is coming off back-to-back unanimous decision defeats to unified world champion Oleksandr Usyk.
The 33-year-old enters the Franklin bout having changed trainers for the second time in two fights, hiring Texas-based Derrick James, trainer of unified welterweight world champion Errol Spence Jr. and undisputed junior middleweight titlist Jermell Charlo. Joshua previously worked with Team GB trainer Rob McCracken before leaving him to work with Robert Garcia for the rematch against Usyk. Different trainers, same results.
The 29-year-old Franklin (21-1, 14 KOs), of Saginaw, Michigan, is fresh off a controversial 12-round majority decision defeat to perennial contender Dillian Whyte last November 26 at Wembley Arena in a bout some observers believe Franklin had deserved to win.
Anthony Joshua On A Losing Streak
Anthony Joshua, who has not won a fight since December 2020 against then-IBF mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev (KO 9), says he will hang up the gloves for good should he lose for the third straight time.
“I will [retire]. I will retire if I lose. I'm not here to battle people. If people want me to retire I will retire,” Joshua stated. “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—- 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.”
Anthony Joshua first became heavyweight champion with an electrifying 11th-round TKO of longtime titleholder Wladimir Klitschko in the unanimous pick for 2017 Fight of the Year. After making three defenses, Joshua was floored four times and suffered a sixth-round TKO against Andy Ruiz Jr. in June 2019 in the Upset of the Year. Joshua reclaimed the unified championship with a decision over Ruiz in a sequel six months later, but could not execute the revenge plot against Usyk.