Joshua sets retirement deadline ahead of Franklin clash

I still feel fresh and young – Anthony Joshua ready for Jermaine Franklin fight

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Anthony Joshua wants to retire from boxing while he’s still young enough to ‘live and have fun’. The 33-year-old isn’t planning on overstaying his welcome in the sport and won’t be competing into his forties.

Following consecutive losses to Oleksandr Usyk AJ is now looking to rebuild his career and mount a third run at heavyweight gold. The process starts on April 1 at the O2 Arena, London when he squares off against Jermaine Franklin of America.

Providing he beats Franklin then AJ’s promoter Eddie Hearn has outlined exciting plans for 2023 that include a rematch with Dillian Whyte in the summer and a blockbuster showdown with either Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury to close out the year.

Clearly, there is a lot left for Joshua to do before he calls it a day and the two-time heavyweight champion still has ambitions of furthering his legacy. However, he doesn’t plan on falling into the trap that so many great fighters have over the years in remaining in the game well beyond their sell-by dates.

“I just want to have time to still live and have fun,” he told Sky Sports when asked about when he intends to retire. “As an athlete we try and have fun but even when you’re out you’re still thinking about when you sleep, what you’re eating, you’ve got to drink water, so you’ve always got things playing on the back of your mind so I want to be young enough to just be free.”

But Joshua isn’t ready to call it quits just yet. “I think people fear the unknown. So when I decided to become a fighter it’s what I dedicated my life to,” he added.

“I don’t know anything else. Because this is the first career I really had and chose to dedicate my life to. So, for me to step into a different career, retirement for example, it’s the unknown. So, who knows what that looks like.

“For a certain amount of time I want to give my life and energy to fighting and I haven’t hit that time yet. So, I’m just going to continue working towards that.”

Ahead of the Franklin fight, Joshua has acquired the services of the 2022 Boxing Writers Association of America trainer of the year Derrick James. Joshua was previously being trained by Robert Garcia but parted ways with his former coach after just four months of working together.

According to Joshua, this was in part down to a bizarre interview Garcia gave after the second Usyk fight in which he affirmed that Joshua had lost to the Ukrainian because he had ‘mentally defeated himself’.

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