’s proposed next fight against Jermaine Franklin has been branded as ‘horrible for fans’ by heavyweight rival Michael Hunter. The pair are set to square off on April 1 at the O2 Arena in London for Joshua’s first fight back since suffering consecutive losses to .

Although the contest is yet to be officially announced it is understood that both parties have already agreed on terms. that the American is set to receive a guaranteed purse of around £800,000, plus a chunk of the PPV pot which could boost his overall payday up to in excess of £2million.

The bout is part of Joshua’s three-fight plan for 2023, starting with Franklin in April, followed by a domestic clash with in June and a blockbuster showdown with either or to close out the year.

Franklin, who recently lost a razor-close majority decision to Whyte, is seen as a rebuilding opponent for Joshua as he looks to mount a third run at heavyweight gold. But not everyone is keen on the matchup, notably Hunter, who believes it will be a dull watch.

“I’ve seen the majority of responses are from sane people who say, ‘that’s a good fight to come back to, a dangerous fight’ and some say it’s a mismatch,” Hearn told Boxing Social. “I saw Gareth A Davies’ article in The Telegraph which was baffling.

“I just don’t understand some people’s criticisms against AJ. He’s just fought Oleksandr Usyk twice. If he fights Demsey McKean, Otto Wallin, Jermaine Franklin, I don’t understand what more people want when he’s coming back and working with a new trainer and getting a foothold back in the heavyweight division.

“Jermaine Franklin is a dangerous fight for Anthony Joshua, he’s full of confidence coming off a great performance against Dillian Whyte and we’ll see if it’s him, but AJ is in camp now over in America. He will go April 1 at the O2 Arena and I expect an announcement probably next week.”