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.
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.
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.
‘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.’
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.’