Undefeated heavyweight and Salita Promotions-promoted contender Jermaine Franklin sent a stern warning to Dillian Whyte as he looks to stamp his credentials as a future world champion in their headlining clash this Saturday night taking place at Wembley Arena in London and streaming live on DAZN.
Weights: Dillian Whyte 251 vs. Jermaine Franklin 257
Fabio Wardley 240 vs. Nathan Gorman 271
“This is my chance to show that I can go toe-to-toe with any heavyweight in the world,” said Franklin, who owns a perfect 21-0 record with 14 knockouts. “I’ve had a great training camp and I’m super motivated to be in the U.K. and win on my opponent’s home turf. I’m coming to finish him, so he better not be looking past me.”
Promoted by longtime contender and veteran promoter Dmitriy Salita since 2018, Franklin has worked his way into heavyweight contention with 2019 triumphs over Rydell Booker, Jerry Forrest and Pavel Sour, before most recently stopping Rodney Moore in May. Saginaw, Michigan’s Franklin has been one of many fighters from Michigan, including women’s boxing superstar Claressa Shields, who have been promoted by Salita and helped revive that area’s boxing scene. With a victory on Saturday night, Salita believes Franklin can solidify himself as one of the standouts from the area.
“Everybody knows that Jermaine has tremendous skill and heart, but they’re going to see him take it to another level against Dillian Whyte,” said Salita. “He’s been a big part of the comeback for boxing in Michigan and I truly believe that after Saturday night, he’s going to be one of the first guys you have to mention when talking about boxing in and around the area. The sky is the limit for him and I know that he’s doing everything possible to put on the best performance of his career in this fight.”
The 29-year-old Franklin will be looking to hand Whyte his second-straight loss after the London-resident dropped an April bout against WBC heavyweight titleholder Tyson Fury. Although Franklin has made it clear that his focus is squarely on Whyte, he and his promoter both know that a triumph on Saturday could lead to a blockbuster clash against another notable U.K. heavyweight, former two-time unified champion Anthony Joshua.
“I’ve never looked past any fighter and I’m not going to start with Dillian Whyte,” said Franklin. “I know that nothing I want happens unless I go in there and be the fighter that I know I am. Anthony Joshua is another big name and everyone knows that’s who Whyte wants next. But I’m here to spoil his party and step right in there to add Joshua’s name to my resume as well. No one can deny me my shot after that.”
“Jermaine is more than worthy of this opportunity in front of him and he still hasn’t shown all his full potential as a fighter,” said Salita. “I strongly believe that he’s primed to really have a breakout night. After he shows what he can do against Whyte, everyone is going to want to see him against Anthony Joshua next.”
“He’s had a lot of amateur fights. I had six amateur fights, people forget that. I had 6 amateur fights but one thing you’ve got to know is I can fight, and I can f**king fight. It’s as simple as that. Whichever way it is, I’ll get it done. Simple as that.
“This is boxing. Sometimes stuff happens. When you’re meant to have your best nights, you don’t and sometimes when you’re not meant to it happens. That’s just how boxing goes. You live and you learn from it. Hindsight is a bitch as they say.
“I try and listen to what my coaches say and what instructions they give. Sometimes you have a too-and-fro in your head. Buddy is calm. But don’t let Buddy’s calmness fool you. Look at the way Buddy used to fight, he used to set the pace and always fight aggressively so don’t let his calmness fool you.
“We know what’s in front of us. He’s young and he’s dangerous. Obviously he’s undefeated and he’s full of beans as we say here in the UK. It’s up to me to beat them out of him one by one. That’s exactly what I’m going to do.
“I don’t really take much notice of what’s said on social media. If you can’t say it to myself then screw you. They can say whatever they want. Listen, that’s their job, they’re meant to say that. That’s what we pay them to come here to do. I don’t care what people say about me or think about me.
“At the moment people are thinking I’m a wounded lion. All of these hyenas are looking to move in and have a little nibble here and a nibble there. What they’ve got to remember is I’m still a predator at the end of the day, and what predators do is they kill.”
“I believe anybody is a test. When the bell rings, you know the other guys’ intentions on winning, but to me everybody is a test and you never overlook anybody. I don’t give a shit who it is. If they’ve got one eye and one leg – you never underestimate them. You’ve got to be prepared for any and everything, and we have done that. Now we’re just ready to put everything together on Saturday night.
“Dillian has more than just punch power. After being with him for a couple of weeks you see this guy has a very good boxing IQ. He does a lot of different moves, it’s awkward and it’s crazy but it works for him. If I ever ask him something like why did you do that, he explains to me why. I’m like alright cool let’s make it a little better so we don’t get countered, or make it a little more effective. It was a great training camp so I have no complaints at all.
“I’m going to be 150% honest with you, I don’t study anybody. I prepare for any and everything. I’m not going to sit and work on the guy I’m training, who he’s fighting. I’m not worried about what they do because I’m preparing my guy for any and everything. I believe if you prepare for one thing, you see something and you look for it and it doesn’t happen in the fight, it’s too damn late. But if you prepare for any and everything no matter what the other guy does, you’ve got an answer for it, and that’s the key.”
“First I want to say thank you for the opportunity. I’m a real chill guy I don’t really talk a lot. I just like to take care of business when it’s time to. I’ve got the upmost confidence in myself and I’m ready to go to work. I’ve just got the upmost confidence in myself and my abilities. You keep bringing up him being stopped in his last fight but I don’t care about that. I’ve come in here and prepared like he’s a World Champion. That’s all we’re looking at. I’m just focused on this fight, I don’t like to dwell too much on the future, you can lose focus on what’s at hand. After this fight that’s where my focus will be. Until then I’m just strictly focused on business.”
“First of all it’s an honour to be here in London. The people here have been very kind and very hospitable to us. It’s an honour. We’re going to take full advantage of this opportunity we’ve got. I can recall Jermaine when he was a younger fighter, maybe about 12/13, at the time he wasn’t fighting for me but I told him – I said you’re going to be World Champion one day – not knowing that one day he would be fighting for me.
“His dad brought him to me about ten years ago and he said I’ve got to take him to another level and you’re the man for that. I said if Jermaine is determined and he wants to do this we can take him to the top because he does have potential. So we started off and we had a successful amateur career – two Golden Gloves National Championships, he was runner up one year and then he lost in the finals, came all the way back around and he made up for that and he won it.
“This guy, he knows how to win. We have great chemistry together, I go out there and give him an assignment and he takes care of the assignment. Nothing is new. His professional career has been built on the road, we went into his opponent’s backyards, in front of their fans, their family and we destroyed them. Just like we’ve come here to do with Dillian Whyte – in front of his fans, in front of his family – we’re going to destroy him. It’s nothing new. It’s nothing new to us – we grew to this.
“It’s a big step up and we’re prepared for this. This is a step where I’ve been mentally preparing him for, physically preparing him for ever since the first day that he walked in the gym. Getting this opportunity against Dillian Whyte, they talked about it maybe a year ago or something and we got all excited about it and it didn’t happen. I told Jermaine that’s okay it’s meant to happen and it will happen. Here we are, it’s going to happen. We’re not fearful of the big stage that we’re on – we are the big stage! We came here. The stage has got to get ready for us.”