In bad news, it’s been reported by Mike Coppinger how the clash of unbeaten heavyweights set for this Thursday (April 22) between Jermain Franklin and Stephan Shaw is off due to Franklin testing positive for Covid-19. Coppinger writes that the Ring City USA card will still go ahead and that a very late replacement foe is now being sought for Shaw.
Above all, and despite the disappointment, it is to be hoped Franklin makes a full recovery very soon. Fans were looking forward to this fight, a rare clash of promising and undefeated young US heavyweights willing to take the risk of fighting each other with so much on the line. Franklin, 20-0(13) would have been making his ring return having been out of action since his October 2019 unanimous decision win over Pavel Sour. For some fans, Franklin of Saginaw, Michigan is one of the very best emerging heavyweights out there today (although he did struggle against Jerry Forrest, who he won a split decision against back in July of 2019).
Shaw, 14-0(10) and hailing from Saint Louis, was last seen winning a unanimous decision of his own, this over Lyubomyr Pinchuk in December. “Big Shot,” as Shaw is known, will no doubt be very disappointed over the way his biggest pro fight thus far has fallen through, for now at least. Again, it is to be hoped Franklin gets back to full fitness soon and that this interesting heavyweight fight can be rescheduled for a later date, perhaps even some time this year. It would be a real shame if this fight was lost for good.
It will now be most interesting to see who Shaw will get to fight on Thursday, if a late sub can indeed be found for him in time. The respective promoters will have their work cut out in finding a decent late replacement, that’s for sure. Imagine taking a big fight with just four days’ notice. And of course this is far from ideal for Shaw, who will have very little time to study his new opponent.