Joshua abandoned as fans make feelings clear on AJ’s return to the top
I still feel fresh and young – Anthony Joshua ready for Jermaine Franklin fight
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Anthony Joshua’s chances of becoming a three-time world champion have been trashed by Express Sport readers. A recent poll reveals that only 17.3% of 4,862 voters are backing AJ to regain heavyweight gold while 82.7% believe his time at the top is up. The result is another indicator that the public have lost faith in the heavy-hitting Brit following his back-to-back defeats at the hands of Oleksandr Usyk.
Joshua first became a world champion in 2016, picking up the IBF belt against then-champion Charles Martin via a dominant second-round knockout win. The WBA (super) title was then added to his collection the following year when he defeated Wladimir Klitschko in an enthralling Wembley clash. This was followed up by a win over Joseph Parker in 2018 for the WBO strap.
However, Joshua went on to drop his three belts to Andy Ruiz Jr in a shock upset fifteen months later but regained them in the rematch to establish himself as a two-time heavyweight champion. Unfortunately for Joshua, he was unable to do the same against Oleksandr Usyk who defeated him in consecutive contests in last two outings, booting him out of the world title picture.
The Watford powerhouse will now have to pick up the pieces and rebuild his career starting with a spring return date against Jermaine Franklin. Providing he beats the American, Joshua is hoping to secure the long-awaited rematch with Dillian Whyte and a blockbuster showdown with either Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury to close out the year.
Despite a long road ahead of him, Joshua is confident he can become a world title holder once again. “I lost a fight this year which took me out of the championship title race,” Joshua told The Sun. “So, when you’re constantly fighting for championships after championships you’re constantly in the race for a long time.
“When I lost, I was finally out of the race and overcoming that was a new beginning, something I’ve been used to, being in the title race for seven years and then finally realising that this isn’t my norm anymore. It’s challenging to overcome that.
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“I’ve always been a competitor, a challenge to me is just another obstacle that I can get over, and for some, I feel like it’s easier to knock them down and keep them down. But as a competitor, it’s just something that you look at as another challenge that I can overcome.
“It’s going to take work, being in that race I’m used to being in that competitor’s mindset, but I’m overcoming it for sure.”
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