Anthony Joshua vs Jermaine Franklin
Anthony Joshua (24-3, 22KO) has agreed to face American heavyweight Jermaine Franklin (21-1, 14KO) at the O2 Arena on April 1, according to the Daily Mail.
Reports say that Franklin and Joshua have agreed financial terms for the fight and are set to sign the final bits of paperwork early this week.
Both boxers, who each suffered defeats in their last fights, will meet in London on the 91st day of the year, also known as April Fools Day.
Former two-time heavyweight world champion Joshua was looking for a top-15 contender as a comeback fight from back to back defeats yo Oleksandr Usyk, to then propel him into a rematch with Dillian Whyte in the summer. All being well, AJ planned to clock up a couple of wins before challenging the likes of Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder or a trilogy fight with Usyk.
AJ was set to face Tyson Fury in December, but negotiations between the two parties collapsed, with Fury’s team announcing their frustration at how long Joshua’s camp were taking to sign the contract.
The mega-fight was scheduled to take place at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff and TV rights were agreed too, however, it just wasn’t destiny for the pair.
More recently, Joshua was linked with a fight against unbeaten Australian fighter Demsey McKean, with McKean calling for a fight against the Englishman after he won the IBF intercontinental heavyweight belt in October 2022. Swedish southpaw, Otto Wallin, who inflicted a severe cut on Fury's eye during their bloody brawl in 2019, was also in the running for the fight, but ranklin has emerged as the one with the golden ticket.
Who is Jermaine Franklin?Jermaine Franklin is known in boxing as the '989 Assassin', because of the area where in which he grew up.
Franklin was born and raised in Saginaw, Michigan a city that has produced superstars such as Stevie Wonder and Serena Williams, but despite being a hotbed for talent, the city has its troubles. Violent crime influenced by drug and gang activity has affected the city for generations and made it a precarious place for a young person to grow up.
He said, “Saginaw is a place that is on the road to recovery, it is not a place for the weak minded. Growing up in the ‘989’ you have to be street smart and my mother worked hard and did everything she could to keep me on the right path but at school, I was getting into fights, that is when my step dad took me to the boxing gym. I was always into sports so boxing came naturally to me and the rest is history.”
Franklin enjoyed a highly successful amateur career, winning the coveted National Golden Gloves Championship in 2014. A chance to compete at the Olympic Games followed, but Franklin had other plans and in 2015, he stepped into the world of professional boxing. He had some good wins over people like Cassius Chaney and Cam F. Awesome.
He joined Tyson Fury's training camp ahead of his showdown with Dillian Whyte last November.
He describes himself as an intelligent fighter, who can box an brawl: “I am a thinker inside the ring, although I can brawl, I can box too. I am always looking for angles to pick my spots to attack.”