By Dane McGuire

Anthony Joshua may be back to his winning ways following a victory in his return bout, but the decision win was…lackluster.

Joshua was tentative to start things off. From that point it was a tactical battle as he would keep Jermaine Franklin at a distance and win on points, albeit by a wide margin. Joshua got the UD nod with final scores of 118-111, 117-111 and 117-111.

“I wish I could’ve knocked him out, 100 percent,” Joshua said, “but in the next 15 years no one is going to remember that fight anyway.”

However, it’s worth noting that regardless, it is AJ’s first W since 2020. Joshua fell short in a bout and then its rematch against Oleksandr Usyk for what had been Joshua’s four heavyweight/super heavyweight titles.

“For me it was all about him coming out and getting the win,” Joshua’s new trainer Derrick James said. “Like I said, I don’t care how he won it. I just wanted him to win. After this, we’ll come back and build and build and build…”

Of course the name on everyone’s lips as far as asking what now was–’The Gypsy King’ Tyson Fury. Another attempt to cement that bout fell through last year.

“The ball is in his court,” Joshua said. “I would be 100 percent honored to compete for the WBC heavyweight championship of the world. … If you’re listening, you know my management, you know my promoter.

“We’ve had dialogue before. Let’s continue this and hopefully we can get this sorted out sooner rather than later. We’re not getting any younger.”

This statement harkens back to Joshua’s comments on his career prior to the bout. Before the fight he said:

“This run is like, what can it go on for? Three, four years?” he said. “If I was going to do another run after this, you’re talking about fighting into my 40s and I truly believe that boxing’s a young man’s sport.

It takes a real solid character like Bernard Hopkins, [George] Foreman, [Wladimir] Klitschko, [Alexander] Povetkin to go on into their 40s and stuff. But I think this is a run I want to make successful and then, you know, hopefully go out on top.”

Speaking about his goals, he said, “I think we’ve got to see what happens this year with the belts. … We’ll see where the belts land. Then just stay consistent, stay focused on improving for these next 12 to 16 months while I’m in title contention.”