British boxer Anthony Joshua, a former world heavyweight champion, said Wednesday, three days before his fight with Jermaine Franklin, that the American had chosen the "worst time" to fight him.
"The more he talks, the more he digs his grave, but that's the way it is. I could say a lot of things about him, but I respect my opponent," said the Briton in a press conference, mocking Franklin's threat to knock him out.
At 33, Joshua is aiming for his first win since 2020, after successive losses to Oleksandr Usyk caused him to lose several versions of his world heavyweight title, without being able to regain it.
The 2012 Olympic champion, with a professional record of 24 wins, including 22 by knockout, and three losses, has changed coaches ahead of this weekend's fight, with Dallas-based Derrick James taking over from Robert Garcia.
"It's going to be a show no matter what. I think we'll see some blood and I'm really looking forward to going back," he further stated.
The Watford, U.K. native was looking forward to his return to a ring at London's O2 Arena in front of his home crowd after the heavyweight title unification fight between British rival Tyson Fury and Ukrainian Usyk failed.
For the first time in eight years, Joshua will not fight for a world title.
Franklin, meanwhile, narrowly lost to another Briton Dillian Whyte in November at the Wembley Arena. But the American stressed that he was better prepared for this fight. "I'm more prepared, I'm more fit and I'm ready to set the world on fire. I'm going to win by any means possible," he said.