Eddie Hearn Reveals Anthony Joshua has Lost Popularity In Recent Years
Two-time unified heavyweight champion Anthony “AJ” Joshua (24-3, 22 KOs) returns to the ring on April 1 against Jermaine Franklin (21-0, 14 KOs) at the 02 Arena in London, England. In Joshua, you have a person whose popularity has risen beyond the realm of boxing. However, according to his promoter, Eddie Hearn, AJ is not currently the superstar of years past.
A SURPRISING ADMISSION
As of this writing, Joshua – Franklin is not a complete sellout. During an interview with Seconds Out, Hearn was asked whether the public’s interest in AJ has dipped. In response, the Chairman of Matchroom Promotions said the following:.
“I think everything’s grossly exaggerated when you talk about the propaganda of the boxing business, but we still do have a couple of hundred tickets left . . . It’s a much bigger gate, actually, than the last time he (Joshua) was at the 02, which was against Dominic Breazeale (in June 2016).”
“But he’s probably, not at the moment, at the peak of his powers in terms of his commercial star . . . I think we’re in a situation now where he needs that good performance.”
NO ONE STAYS ON TOP FOREVER
Joshua has been a popular figure in his home country of England since winning the Gold Medal at the 2012 London Olympics. Not three years into his career, he was a world champion. After scoring a dramatic eleventh-round stoppage over eventual Hall of Famer Wladimir Klitschko in April 2017, Joshua’s profile went into another stratosphere. He became an international figure as he went on to become a unified champion.
In June 2019, Joshua suffered a shocking stoppage loss to Andy Ruiz. From that point, things have never been the same for the fighter from Waterford, England. Yes, he defeated Ruiz in a rematch in December of that year, but Joshua was officially exposed. The Brit enters this fight with Franklin coming off consecutive losses to reigning unified champion Oleksandr Usyk. After the rematch loss to Usyk in August 2022, Joshua seemed to come apart at the seams, mentally.
AJ hopes that a dominant win over Franklin will be a much-needed boost. But at age 33, it looks unlikely that he will reach the heights of years past.