By Steve Kim Updated on March 30, 2023

Is 'AJ' Boxed Out?

Picture for Is 'AJ' Boxed Out?

This Saturday in-between all the Final Four action, there are a pair of cards taking place on DAZN in the afternoon, then on ESPN+ later on in the evening. Much of the focus will be on Anthony Joshua-Jermaine Franklin from the O2 Arena in England, in what is his 2023 debut.

For 'AJ' it's his first outing since losing a hard-fought 12 round decision Oleksandr Usyk, and actually the first guy not named 'Oleksandr Usyk' he's shared the ring with since 2020 (when he stopped Kubrat Pulev in nine rounds.)

Picture for Is 'AJ' Boxed Out?Matchroom Sports

Coming into this contest alongside new trainer, Derrick James, the telegenic Joshua has talked about wanting to become more active, and to refine his skills. It's a bit unusual for a guy who was once a unified heavyweight champion to say this, especially one who is now 33 years old.

The truth of the matter is the die may already be cast but you have to give Joshua some credit for understanding his flaws. But the reality is that assignments like the one against the scrappy Franklin should've taken place a few years ago to really aid his overall development as a prizefighter.

Problem is, he was too damn popular for his own -- and Matchroom Sports -- good. 

Picture for Is 'AJ' Boxed Out?Matchroom Sport

Just go back, 2016, the year he picked off Charles Martin in his16th professional outing to win the IBF title, was the last year he fought three times in a calendar year. Then from 2017-2019 he fell into the all-too-familiar pattern of boxing bi-annually like most other champions. Keep in mind, despite his Olympic gold medal credentials, Joshua had a relatively short amateur run(45 bouts). Guillermo Rigondeaux he wasn't.

Then as he became one of the games biggest draws, and one of the most highly paid athletes in the world that sold out stadiums, a familiar pattern occurred: fights, followed by long drawn out negotiations. And then 2020 lockdown didn't help.

Joshua, himself, has admitted that these long layoffs have been detrimental to his progress.

In 2020, 2021 and 2022, Joshua has fought just once each year. Going into a decade of his career, he has all of 27 fights(24-3, 22 KOs)

You could state the the business of Joshua, has hindered Joshua the boxer. But to be fair, business was booming. For whatever flaws he has, he brought a certain economic prowess to the games glamour division, and could be considered the centerpiece of the UK boxing renaissance. He also seems to be a gentlemen, who outside of an unfortunate post-fight preamble last August, has handled himself remarkably well for the most part.

Picture for Is 'AJ' Boxed Out? Matchroom Sports

And to his credit, he is still ranked third by Ring Magazine in the heavyweight division( behind Tyson Fury Deontay Wilder, and Usyk, who is their champion). He may still also represent the biggest payday for any fighter in this weight class.

Again, the business of Joshua is booming, it's the fighter that's incomplete.

But overall, 'AJ' has been great for the sport, especially in Britain. There is no denying his impact. But you wonder if it could've been better. Perhaps James can take him to new heights in the next chapters of his career.

As of now, Joshua is better than a Frank Bruno, but far short of a Lennox Lewis. 



From the Hard Rock Casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Top Rank has a card that will feature the battle for the vacant WBO featherweight title between Robeisy Ramirez and Isaac Dogboe, in what should be an interesting match.

Picture for Is 'AJ' Boxed Out?Top Rank

Ramirez(11-1, 7 KOs), came into the pro game with a lot of hype based on the two Olympic gold medals he captured for Cuba. But in his professional debut back in 2019, he was stunningly beat by Adan Gonzalez, hitting the deck in the opening round. He would avenge that loss, and with the aid of world-class trainer, Ismael Salas, has become a legitimate professional, something that has not been the case with other Cuban defectors.

Blood Sweat & Tears | Robeisy Ramirez vs Isaac Dogboe | FULL EPISODE


As for Dogboe, who once held the WBO 122-pound title, his career seemed to be going into a downhill spiral after consecutive losses to Emanuel Navarette. But after linking up with the highly regarded, Barry Hunter, he has righted himself, and has won four consecutive bouts, which included hard-fought victories versus the likes of Adam Lopez, Christopher Diaz and Joet Gonzalez.

Ramirez-Dogboe is a contest between two guys who have come a long ways in a short time.



It was formally announced on Tuesday by Top Rank, that the showdown between undisputed lightweight king, Devin Haney, and the accomplished, Vasiliy Lomachenko, will take place on May 20 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Picture for Is 'AJ' Boxed Out?Top Rank

This pay-per-view card will be priced at $59.99.



The Joshua-Franklin fight will be on DAZN....Joet Gonzalez-Enrique Vivas is the co-main on the ESPN+ card....This card has a chock full of blue-chip prospects in Abdullah Mason, Tiger Johnson and Emiliano Vargas...BLK Prime has announced that they will be doing a series that will take place on Tuesday nights starting in May....Top Rank has announced that on May 13, WBO 160-pound belt-holder, Janibek Alimkhanuly will face Steven Butler, with Jason Moloney and Vincent Astrolobio will battle for the vacant WBO bantamweight strap....The Miami Hurricanes play in the 'Final Four' -- it's still surreal to type that out....I can be reached at







About Author
Is 'AJ' Boxed Out?
  • Hosted 'the Main Event' on KIEV 870, and then later XTRA AM1150 ( a three hour show devoted to boxing) from 1996 to 1999.
  • Joined one of the first boxing websites, 'House of Boxing' in 1999, and then later became one of the founders of Maxboxing, that started in 2001, till his departure in 2014.
  • From 2014 to 2018, he was the lead columnist for
  • Was a boxing reporter for from 2018 to 2020.
  • He has written for Ring Magazine, International Boxing Digest and Boxing News.
  • Is the co-host of 'the 3 Knockdown Rule' with Mario Lopez, which has become of the most popular boxing podcasts the past several years.
  • Steve has also served as an announcer and analyst for RingTV, Thompson Boxing, 360 Promotions and CBS Sports Network.