The undercard of Anthony Joshua’s crucial fight against Jermaine Franklin has been revealed for April 1st at the O2 in London for Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing show live on DAZN.
Former unified heavyweight champion Joshua will be fighting for the first time under the guidance of new trainer Derrick James, who is trying to rebuild him from the ground up.
If Joshua loses this fight, one of two things could happen:
A. Derrick James is sacked immediately
B. Joshua retires.
Derrick has his work cut out for him, as it would seem that the old saying, ‘Old dogs can’t learn new tricks’ would fit here. At 33, it’s improbable for Joshua to be refurbished and returned to his former glory regardless of what old school things he’s taught by James.
For the most part, the Joshua-Franklin undercard is for domestic consumption, focusing more on British fighters against other Brits or European guys that most Americans will have never seen before. These are mostly showcase fights.
Although Joshua (24-3, 22 KOs) is the favorite against the much smaller, less powerful, and experienced Franklin (21-1, 14 KOs), it’s still difficult to know for certain he’ll win because he’s looked so bad in the last four years.
Referred to as the ‘New Dawn’, the Joshua-Franklin event has the following fights:
- Fabio Wardley vs. Michael Polite-Coffie
- Matteo Signani vs. Felix Cash
- Ammo Williams vs. River Wilson-Bent
- Campbell Hatton vs. Lewis Fielding
- John Hedges vs. Daniel Bocianski
- Ziyad Almaayouf vs.TBA
- Juergen Uldedaj vs. TBA
This writer doesn’t see any of the above undercard fighters ever winning world titles in their respective careers, but perhaps I’ll be proven wrong. They’d have to make massive improvements to win world titles, and I don’t see it as possible.
Franklin is a more technical version of Andy Ruiz, but without the weight issues. The problems that Joshua had against Ruiz will likely be exposed by Franklin as well on April 1st.
Interestingly, many of Joshua’s fans aren’t giving Franklin any chance, and they’re disappointed with this match. They’d rather have seen him fighting Whyte, the guy Franklin dominated, rather than him. We’ll see what Joshua’s fans say if he winds up losing to Franklin.
It’s hard to see Joshua as the favorite in this fight because Franklin should still be undefeated because he was robbed in his loss to British fighter Dillian Whyte last November in London in a fight that he clearly deserved the victory.
Many of the shots that Franklin landed on the chin of Whyte would have had Joshua in serious trouble.
Joshua comes into the fight with Franklin having lost his last two fights against Oleksandr Usyk, and is in a must-win situation. To say that 33-year-old Joshua’s career is hanging by a thread is putting it mildly.
If Franklin stops AJ, it’s possible that he’ll retire rather than hang around and evolve into an entertainer heavyweight like journeyman Derek Chisora, Dave Allen, and Alen Babic.