The two-time world heavyweight champion tipped the scales at Friday’s weigh-in at Westfield at 255.4lbs (18th 2lbs), 11lbs heavier than he was for his loss to Oleksandr Usyk in Saudi Arabia last August.
It eclipses Joshua’s heaviest mark as a professional at 254lbs, which he weighed in for a grueling 10th-round stoppage of late replacement opponent Carlos Takam at Cardiff in 2017.
The Briton hadn’t weighed more than 247lbs since then, having dropped to 237lbs for his successful rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr in 2019 and stayed around 240lbs for his win over Kubrat Pulev and first loss to Usyk at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in 2021.
Such a big jump in weight will only serve to heighten predictions of an emphatic knockout from Joshua in the first half of Saturday’s fight as he tries to make a powerful statement on his return to the ring, proving that he remains a true title contender in boxing blue. -riband division and still worthy of a potential blockbuster showdown with defending WBC champion Tyson Fury.
However, it could also raise familiar questions about his conditioning and ability to maintain stamina late in fights if the main event at the O2 Arena goes down in the final rounds.
“How do I feel heading into this fight? I have my game plan, I’m right. I’m ready to go to war,” said Joshua, who set up camp in Dallas with new coach Derrick James.
“I know I have the possibility of being eliminated 100%. But there is a process to get there. I just follow my process, I pray to God and whatever happens will happen.
Franklin, meanwhile, weighed in at 234.1lbs (16th 7lbs) on Friday, 23lbs lighter than he was for a close points loss to Joshua’s arch-rival Dillian Whyte in his last trip to UK in November.
The American said of Joshua’s weight: “He’s probably put on a little bit, but we’re ready for anything. We have a chin of steel so I’m not too worried about power. He should still be able to touch me with it.