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Anthony Joshua weighs a career heaviest in tonight’s fight

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Anthony Joshua and Jermaine Franklin fight on Saturday night. (Photo: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing)

Anthony Joshua will head into Saturday’s fight with Jermaine Franklin at a career heaviest.

Joshua – who suffered his second successive defeat to Usyk in August 2022 – weighed in at 255.4lbs on Friday afternoon.

The former champion will be hoping his added weight will help him make a statement on Saturday and register his first win since against Kubrat Pulev in December 2020.

Meanwhile, Franklin has dropped 23lbs from his points defeat to Dillian Whyte in November 2022 and looked visibly learner in the torso and face as he took to the stage. He tipped the scales at just over 234lbs. 

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Franklin’s weight loss provides a clear indication of his game plan heading into Saturday’s bout. The American will be looking to match Joshua’s output – with the British heavyweight being forced to work 40 per cent harder in his second fight to Usyk than any of his previous fights.

Joshua’s weight has been a topic of conversation ever since he made the step up to professional boxing in 2013. Fans and pundits have often criticised the British heavyweight for being ‘too big’, ‘too heavy’ and ‘too sluggish’.

Some insist the 33-year-old has bulked up too much since the amateur days when he beat Roberto Cammarelle in 2012 to become Great Britain’s 29th and final gold medallist at London Olympic Games.

However, Joshua’s coaches are adamant he’s in perfect condition for facing Franklin at the O2 Arena on Saturday evening.

Meanwhile, Franklin weighed in 23lbs lighter than he was against Whyte in November 2022. His coaches insist the American’s weight loss will help him overthrow the two-time heavyweight champion.

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Jesse Addison told Sportsmail earlier in the week that Franklin is heading into this fight ‘stronger, faster and more focused’ than ever.

While Lorenzo Reynolds said the American heavyweight is more conditioned than he was against Whyte and shut down claims his weight loss has diminished his power.

Reynolds told Sportsmail: ‘We are really happy with his [Franklin’s] weight. We are happy with his commitment. We are looking forward to an awesome fight this Saturday.’

When asked what the secret to his weight loss was, Reynolds said ‘time’. He said Franklin has had longer to prepare for his fight against Joshua than he did for the Whyte fight in November 2022.

Reynolds said: ‘This time we went down to a good state that has a lot of heat in Florida. We took advantage of every training opportunity. We had a very focused Jermaine.

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‘We put him on a strict diet. He answered every test that we gave him. So we are expecting for him to do great on the final exam on Saturday night.’

Reynolds also said Franklin was lacking fitness heading into the Whyte fight – which he lost 115-115, 116-112 and 116-112.

However, Franklin’s strength and conditioning coach is confident that the American has ‘premium gasoline in his fuel tank’ this time around.

He told Sportsmail: ‘The Dillian Whyte fight showed us that he has a lot of heart. A lot of fighters lack heart but Jermaine showed that he had a lot of heart. But, the conditioning was lacking.

‘So, we went back and we made his weakness his strength. We had time to do that so we are confident in his cardiovascular system. We are confident that if the fight goes the distance, he has a lot of premium gasoline in his fuel tank.’

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There have been concerns that Franklin’s weight loss could affect his power. However, Addison is adamant that his fighter is ‘stronger, faster and more focused’ than ever.

When asked whether Franklin’s weight loss will impact his power, Addison said: ‘Absolutely not. If anything he has gotten stronger.

‘He’s gotten faster and he’s more focused. We feel like the weight loss will be an advantage for Jermaine against Joshua.’

-Daily Mail

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

Boxing

Anthony Joshua’s opponent, Helenius gets two-year ban

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 Anthony Joshua v Robert Helenius - O2 Arena, London, Britain - August 12, 2023 Robert Helenius in action during his fight against Antonhy Joshua Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge/File Photo

Finland’s Robert Helenius has been banned for two years due to Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRVs) for the presence and use of a prohibited substance for his bout against Britain’s Anthony Joshua in August 2023, UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) said on Friday.

Former heavyweight world champion Joshua beat stand-in Helenius with a seventh round single-punch knockout at the London O2 Arena.

But Helenius’s sample from a voluntary drug test the day before the bout tested positive for clomifene, which the Finnish boxer said may have originated from consuming eggs and chicken.

Helenius, now 40, was provisionally suspended and UKAD said he was unable to provide proof that “the eggs and chicken meat he had consumed in advance of the bout originated from hens that had been administered clomifene”.

“Mr Helenius was therefore unable to identify the source of clomifene in his sample and therefore unable to reduce the applicable period of ineligibility of two years,” UKAD added.

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However, UKAD said that since Helenius was provisionally suspended on Sept. 18, 2023, he has already served 10 months of his ban which will expire on Sept. 17, 2025.

-Reuters

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Dubois promises to put an end to Anthony Joshua era

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It promises a tough time for Anthony Joshua if the words of Daniel Dubois are anything to go by, as both will clash in September.

“I’m aiming to be the best. AJ (Joshua) has been the King for a long time but on the night I need to be the ‘King slayer’. That’s the goal, the mission I have,” Dubois said at the news conference on Wednesday.

“I’m ready to let my fists do the talking. I’m 100% ready to go and to train like a beast.”

Dubois has a 21-2 record with 20 knockouts while 34-year-old Joshua’s record is 28-3, including 25 knockouts.

Usyk beat two-times heavyweight champion Joshua twice – first in 2021 to seize the WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO belts and again in 2022 when he defended the belts – but the Briton has won his last four fights.

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“I went out to watch his last fight… Dubois has been on my mind for a while and he will be for the next 12 weeks,” Joshua said.

“Whoever was going to be there, I was ready to fight in September. It just happened to be him.”

When questioned about the age difference, Joshua said: “It don’t matter, we’re in peak condition. Age is just a number.”

Usyk had knocked out Dubois in nine rounds last year in a bout overshadowed by a low blow controversy when the Ukrainian went down gasping for breath after he was hit on the band of his shorts.

“Anthony and Daniel, I know the IBF title is important to you. It is my present to you on September 21,” Usyk said on X, opens new tab when he vacated the belt.

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The winner of the bout between Joshua and Dubois could then get a crack at the undisputed champion after Usyk and Fury have their rematch.

The undercard will have five bouts, including two for the IBF super-featherweight title and the WBO interim light-heavyweight title.

“This is probably the most stacked card in British boxing history, certainly in my lifetime, headlined by Daniel Dubois and Anthony Joshua,” Queensberry promoter Frank Warren said.

“Where better to do it at the national stadium, Wembley?”

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Usyk vacates IBF heavyweight title

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Oleksandr Usyk has vacated the International Boxing Federation (IBF) heavyweight belt, the Ukrainian said on Tuesday, five weeks after becoming the undisputed heavyweight champion.

The announcement comes after Usyk’s mandatory IBF title defence against challenger Croatian Filip Hrgovic was left pending and Daniel Dubois became the new interim IBF heavyweight champion by beating Hrgovic earlier this month.

The 37-year-old Usyk requested not to be stripped of his IBF belt to contest the undisputed champion title when he takes on Fury in their December rematch, where only the WBC, WBO and WBA titles will now be on the line.

The heavyweight IBF title, which Usyk held since 2021, will be up for grabs when Anthony Joshua takes on Dubois in September at Wembley Stadium.

“Anthony and Daniel, I know the IBF title is important to you. It is my present to you on 21 September,” Usyk said in a video message on X.

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Last month Usyk became the first undisputed heavyweight champion since 2000 as he claimed the WBC title by beating Tyson Fury by a split decision in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Usyk said he may return to the cruiserweight division following his rematch with Fury.

-Reuters

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