Anthony Joshua will begin his comeback trail with a fight against Jermaine Franklin at the O2 Arena on April 1.

The former world heavyweight champion suffered a second consecutive defeat to Oleksandr Usyk last August in Saudi Arabia.

Tyson Fury instigated talks over an all-British bout weeks after that split decision loss in Jeddah but no world title fight was forthcoming, and now Joshua will return to action against Franklin.

He confirmed the contest in a tweet which contained a poster for the fight and read: “A new dawn.”

Joshua was ringside in November when Franklin lost to Dillian Whyte at Wembley Arena, the first defeat of the American’s 22-fight career.

There had been speculation prior to Joshua being beaten by Usyk for a second time that the former Olympic champion may walk away from the sport.

It was immediately put to bed following the third loss of his career when he showed his willingness to take on Fury during September talks.

Anthony Joshua and Eddie HearnAnthony Joshua and Eddie Hearn watched Jermaine Franklin’s last fight (Steven Paston/PA)

While those plans fell through and conjecture over a rematch with Whyte never took off, he will begin his latest quest on the path to another world title shot at the O2 Arena.

Joshua last fought at the Greenwich venue in the summer of 2016 when he beat Dominic Breazeale.

It was his seventh contest at the O2 Arena and maintained his 100 per cent record there with the Watford-born fighter hoping the stadium continues to be a happy hunting ground for him in two months’ time.

Meanwhile, Joe Cordina’s rearranged world title fight with Shavkat Rakhimov has been confirmed for April 22 at Cardiff International Arena. The original date of November 5 had to be cancelled due to a hand injury for Cordina.