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Anthony Joshua admits money is the main motivation to box on ahead of Jermaine Franklin fight

Anthony Joshua and Jermaine Franklin. Photo credit: Getty Images

Former two-time unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua 24-3 (22) has admitted that business distractions have curtailed his career but has vowed to be fully focused when he takes on Jermaine Franklin 21-1 (14) at the O2 Arena in London, England on April 1.

The 33-year-old Brit has lost back-to-back fights to Ukrainian southpaw Oleksandr Usyk 20-0 (13) on points and will be heading into the Franklin fight with his third trainer in as many fights as he looks to rejuvenate his career.

American Franklin, 29, would seem to be the perfect foil for Joshua, who will be having his first bout under the guidance of gun Texan trainer Derrick James.

“He’s a very good fighter,” said Joshua of Franklin. “I respect him to the extent that I’ve buried myself in Dallas all this time. I’ve taken myself away from all distractions.

“Away from my businesses even though I admit that money is my main motivation for fighting on because I never want to go back to the hard life I came from. Being broke and down and out. Not me, not any of my family. After all is said and done this is prize-fighting.

“But to make sure of that, to have the will to win again, I knew I had to put my heart back into the ring as well as my mind.”

Franklin’s promoter Dmitriy Salita isn’t convinced that a new trainer is going to fix all of Joshua’s problems.

“Derrick James is a great trainer,” said Salita. “But there’s only so much you can do in three months.”

Franklin made a name for himself when he lost a competitive majority decision to former world title challenger Dillian Whyte 29-3 (19) in his last outing in November, a fight he still believes he won.

“I believe I can beat anybody,” said Franklin. “If you don’t believe in yourself, you’re in the wrong sport.”

“Jermaine is a very good fighter, so we’re definitely taking him seriously,” replied James. “It’s about Anthony being the fighter he wants to be, and the fighter he needs to be and building the best version of himself.”

“I still feel fresh and young,” Joshua said. “Everything I’ve been through, positive and negative, I’ve taken with me [as his career has gone on as lessons learned]. I’ve got rid of distractions so I could put my heart back in the game. I’ve put my heart in boxing and nothing else. It’s not just your mind, it’s your heart.”

According to Joshua, out of the ring distractions have been the only reason for setbacks in his career. But those days, he says, are in the past.

“So many fighters go to the gym every day but there is a difference when you put your heart into it,” Joshua said. “I have had to get rid of a lot of distractions in my life and things so I can put my heart back into the game.”