“My heart’s in the game, fully”: Anthony Joshua rehearses in Texas vigorously ahead of his showdown against Jermain Franklin

The name Anthony Joshua has long been associated with heavyweight boxing, especially after his gold medal-winning performance at the 2012 Olympics. Having to face defeat in three of his last five bouts, the former champion seeks retribution.

On April 1st, he will face off with Jermaine Franklin at the O2 Arena in London in what is lauded as the “New Dawn” bout.

Joshua, who has won 24 fights and lost three, says, “I’m starting fresh.”. The 33-year-old fighter has an entirely new team backing him, led by coach Derrick James, and has relocated his training camp to Texas, USA.

Anthony Joshua

Anthony Joshua and his Comeback: Retired Champion Bellew Joins Forces to Overcome Adversity

Tony Bellew, the retired cruiserweight champion, made a visit to Joshua and chatted about his second successive thrashing to Oleksandr Usyk in August, his new squad, his new surroundings, and exploring what coach James could add to his skill set.

Although Joshua’s professional career began with a blaze of glory, with a world title win in just his 16th fight, which included 16 knockouts, things took a turn for the worse after a shocking defeat to Andy Ruiz Jr in June 2019. It wasn’t until September 2021, when Usyk dethroned him once again, that he regained his WBA, IBF, and WBO titles.

“I felt like I let a lot of people down,” says Joshua, who faced scathing criticism for his weak performance against Usyk. “People said, ‘his mind ain’t in it, where’s his head at? His head’s not in the game.’ That’s not the truth – my heart’s in the game, fully. This is all I have, really.”

Anthony Joshua

Anthony Joshua’s Latest Trainer: The Third Time’s the Charm!

It will be the third time James is training Joshua in the same number of fights. Before the Usyk rematch, he had been trained by Briton Rob McCracken. Joshua parted ways with Robert Garcia after just one bout, and one of his team members contacted James via Instagram.

“When I saw him, I liked him,” James states. “I liked his size. What I saw from him, initially, was he’s a good fighter, he’s a good boxer. Very fast hands, very athletic.”

In addition to training Errol Spence Jr. and the twins Jermell and Jermall Charlo, James is an ex-fighter himself. Joshua explains that training alongside great fighters in Texas is beneficial. 

From Heart to Fist: Anthony Joshua’s Journey to Redemption with Derrick James and the Texas Squad

“Derrick James is an ex-fighter himself. I feel he knows how to get someone fight-ready, and he’s pushing me in that direction,” he says. “When you’re among great fighters, it helps. We’re all training at different times because there’s one Derrick James.”

He is excited about the refreshed start and the training he’s receiving in Texas. “It’s not just about is your head in it.? My heart is in it,” he says. “It’s not just about the dough, you have to love it. Because it’s not normal.” With the “New Dawn” fight against Franklin, Joshua has an opportunity to prove that he’s still a top heavyweight contender and that his new team and training regime is precisely what the doctor ordered.

Kushal Shinde

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