Anthony Joshua and Jermaine Franklin are finalizing a deal to battle on April 1st at the O2 Arena in London, England. They’ve agreed to the terms, but the contract still needs to be signed.
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn already tipped off the media that Franklin (21-1, 14 KOs) would be next up for his fighter, as that was the guy that was the ideal option for his British star to employ as a tune-up opponent.
It’s a bold move on Joshua’s part to take on Franklin because he looked world’s better than Dillian Whyte last November, getting robbed in London in a fight in which he dominated nine of the twelve rounds but found himself getting rooked.
The embarrassing set of scores handed in by the three judges that worked that fight was as follows: 116-112, 116-112 for Whyte, and 115-115. A better score would have been 117-111 for Franklin.
Franklin fought like a more talented version of Andy Ruiz Jr, but without the 40 lbs of fat weighing him down. He dominated Whyte and showed how over the hill the British fighter was at this stage of his career.
“Jermaine is a world-class heavyweight on his way to bringing a big win back home,” said Dmitry Salita, the promoter of Jermaine Franklin, to ESPN.
“We hope to get the deal over the finish line shortly. I signed Jermaine a little more than three years ago, and I always believed he had the skills to be one of the best heavyweights in the world.
“He’s shown that throughout his career and to worldwide fans in his last fight against Dillian Whyte,” said Salita.
If Franklin fights similarly against Joshua, he will send him down to his third consecutive defeat and likely end his career as we know it.
Earlier today, ESPN confirmed that the 33-year-old Joshua and 29-year-old American Franklin are finalizing a deal to fight on April 1st.
Hearn says the deal still isn’t signed, and he has several other offers out to other fighters he’s waiting to hear back from.
If Joshua doesn’t fight Franklin, he could wind up facing the southpaw Demsey McKean, which wouldn’t help him prepare for his potential fights against Dillian Whyte, Deontay Wilder, or Tyson Fury in 2023.
Joshua has come empty in his last two fights, losing to Oleksandr Usyk. AJ hasn’t won a fight since 2020, when he stopped the 40-year-old Kubrat Pulev in the ninth round, and he hasn’t looked impressive since his win over Carlos Takam in 2017.