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Anthony Joshua return confirmed for April as Matchroom announce five events

Joshua return confirmed for April as Matchroom announce five events
© Reuters
Anthony Joshua's return to the ring has been confirmed for April 1, the two-time world heavyweight champion facing Jermaine Franklin in London.

Matchroom Sport has confirmed that Anthony Joshua's return to the ring has been scheduled for April 1 against Jermaine Franklin.

On the back of losing his rematch with Oleksandr Usyk in August, Joshua had been pencilled in for the end of December, but a re-think led to his next outing being put back until the spring.

As expected, American puncher Franklin is the opponent having lost on points to Dillian Whyte at the back end of 2022, some feeling harshly after more than matching Whyte for the majority of their contest.

Joshua's appearance at the O2 Arena is one of five new events to be confirmed by Matchroom, the first of which will be headlined by Callum Smith in Liverpool on March 11.

The light-heavyweight will need to overcome unbeaten Polish fighter Pawel Stepien to set up a showdown with Artur Beterbiev, who holds three of the four world title belts at 175lbs.

A week later in Newcastle, unbeaten welterweight prospect Cyrus Pattinson is scheduled to face the experienced Chris Jenkins, a former British and Commonwealth champion.

Joshua's next fight is two weeks further down the calendar, a week before Jesse Rodriguez faces Cristian Gonzalez for the vacant WBO flyweight title in Texas.

On April 22, Joe Cordina is in line to make his return from a hand injury as he bids to reclaim the IBF super-featherweight title that he never lost in the ring.

The Welshman was stripped of the title after being unable to face mandatory challenger Shavkat Rakhimov, who subsequently defeated Zelfa Barrett in November, and the pair will now meet in Cardiff.

Matchroom has also formally confirmed the rematch between Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano for Dublin on May 20 for Taylor's collection of world lightweight belts.

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Dillian Whyte during a press conference for his WBC heavyweight title fight with Tyson Fury on April 20, 2022.
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