Anthony Joshua vs Jermaine Franklin reactions
Anthony Joshua and Jermaine Franklin agree terms
The soon-to-be announcent that former two-time heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua (24-3, 22KO) will be fighting once-defeated American Jermaine Franklin (21-1, 14KO) next has caused quite a stir amongst boxing fans. The heavyweights will clash at the London O2 Arena on Saturday, April 1, in a UK vs USA battle ove 12 rounds, live on DAZN PPV.
Fans have been quite vocal in their displeasure at the choice of opponent, some calling the '989 Assassin' from Michigan a 'journeyman' despite only losing once before. One fan tweeted, "Absolutely nobody wants this fight"; other Twitter users agreed, "A fight nobody wanted or wants"; "Not a single person wants it I'm afraid"; "This is less interesting than fury-Chisora 3".
But what do our panel of boxing experts think? BBN have posed the question to professional boxers, managers, promoters and writers to gather their reactions to the breaking news:
Rick Ramos, Boxing coach & manager
"Yes, perfect, respectable opponent. It’s time to rebuild Anthony Joshua. He is a star and he has the money behind him to rebuild.
"Franklin is a young, hungry kid. 6.5/7 out of 10. I would have went with someone similar… this is a good pick.
"I will assume Joshua will be trying new things, so I’d have to go with a late stoppage. He needs a KO to get people excited again.
"Whyte would be a good next fight… but a must-win fight."
Jazza Dickens, IBO world featherweight champion
"AJ could do with a win, build his confidence back up, he hasn’t won a fight for over two years.
"Whilst the belts are tied up he should seize the opportunity and enjoy his boxing, find himself without the immense pressure he faced during his reign.
"And most importantly get himself back to winning ways with his new team."
Spike O'Sullivan, Irish champion & world title contender
"Good fight this, good luck to both warriors."
Jamie Speight, Three-weight Southern Area champion
"Anthony Joshua has dwindled massively, I’ve lost all my respect for him as a person and an athlete. Having said that, he carries that one-punch ‘change the course of the fight’ power, which will always see him in good stead against run of the mill opposition.
"I believe Jermaine Franklin beat Dillian Whyte and was hard done by, if Jermaine believes in himself and is willing to take a few lumps and bumps to get close to Joshua, he can do it, We also know Joshua has the engine of a 1970 Nissan Micra and not the best of chins, after round six he’s shot to bits and there for the taking.
"My head says Joshua finds a way, my heart wants Franklin. I’m going to go with my heart and hope Franklin boxes sensible and drags him late for the victory, in what fashion I have no idea."
Tim Rickson, BBN Editor
"Eddie Hearn announced plans for three fights this year – top 15 contender first; Dillian Whyte rematch in the summer; culminating in a big fight with Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury. It sounds like a good plan to me, and he's delivered on a top 15 contender straightaway. He's WBO #12, familiar to UK fans, respected for his showing against Whyte, so I think it's a decent comeback opponent for AJ.
"Against Whyte, he was composed, used his jab well, wasn't fazed by the big occasion, fought fire with fire when he needed to, and went the full 12 rounds for the first time in his career. He was exhausted by the final round but he dug deep to show heart and bravery, took some big shots but never buckled, so I thought he gave a good account of himself in his first fight abroad and his first big headlining act, and from the away corner too. He outlanded Whyte by 21 punches so was unlucky not to win.
"I think Joshua will come out from his new corner, with Derrick James in, trying out a few new moves after a world class camp surrounded by champions Jermell Charlo and Errol Spence. I expect him to box patiently for the first few rounds then turn up the heat midway to go for the stoppage.
"I really wanted the comeback opponent to be Otto Wallin, but I'm not disappointed by Franklin at all. AJ now has to win more convincingly than Dillian Whyte did to set up that summer showdown, which is another clever bit of matchmaking for him. There's a history there between them already and Whyte will be desperate to avenge his loss and even the score. I suppose it's a trilogy, with the amateur win to Whyte, the pro win to AJ, so the next one is the decider! That should mean Wyhte will come into the fight the fully fittest, best version of himself. Their first fight was thrilling, so the rematch should be equally as good, if not better, hopefully, especially now they both know they can hurt each other.
"If all goes well and AJ wins both fights, then Tyson Fury will be the fight to make, as it's the big one we have all been calling for, for years now. It'd be criminal if they didn't face each other in their careers, even though Tyson Fury has pulled away from him over the past few years. Deontay Wilder? AJ's team need to keep him far away from Wilder, as that would be a dangerous fight. If Wilder lands on Joshua then he will be in a world of trouble."
Arijan Goricki, Featherweight prospect
"It's very good comeback fight for AJ. God fight to get his confidence back and to try things they been working on in the camp with his new trainer.
"People are never satisfied and they will always find something to complain about.. Same people that saying that Franklin is bad opponent for AJ are the one that was saying that Franklin won the fight against Whyte.
"It's good tune up fight and more time to build bigger fight for the summer against opponent that is better known then Franklin."
Daniel Smith, BBN writer
"AJ’s last two fights have been in high-quality company, and there’s no substitute for the experience and potential knowledge he’s gained from the Usyk bouts.
"In terms of whether Jermaine Franklin is a worthy opponent bears no odds, for Joshua will not be mixing it up with the American to acquire anything but a starching knockout on his resume, a nod to Dillian Whyte that he’ll be in for the same should they meet again, and above all else, the fight – should he win emphatically – will be an injection of confidence in his fists.
"Back in November last year, Franklin was there to be rolled over by Whyte. However, he asserted his resistance over the course of twelve rounds and was potentially diddled out of a decision over his man. But against Joshua, he may find a more mobile and pressing opponent who’s capable of putting the fight to bed should he hurt Franklin.
"While it’s hard not to have remnants of Andy Ruiz’s battering over Joshua loom above a call on this decision, I feel that Joshua will take the win in the mid-to-late rounds."
Niall O'Connell, Boxing writer
"As a comeback opponent for AJ coming off the back of consecutive defeats, I think Franklin is a very suitable opponent. The American proved how capable he is against Whyte, and should provide AJ problems if he is still suffering a hangover from the Usyk defeats.
"I thought he was excellent. A rather unknown quantity heading into the bout, he proved to be technically sound, with a great engine for a heavyweight and a very good chin
"I would have probably chose for him to get straight in with Dillian Whyte. A big domestic clash that he is more than capable of winning comfortably
"I think Franklin gives Joshua plenty of problems early with his fast hands and technical ability, before the American starts to wilt under the power of AJ and Joshua stops him in the last round
"I have no objections to a rematch between AJ and Whyte. A real last chance saloon for both men."
Aqib Tahlat, BBN writer
"Yes, it’s a good comeback fight for AJ as I believe Franklin will test him and give him a good understanding on where AJ is in his career thus far. AJ will need to be on his A game against Franklin as he showed against Whyte that he can fight.
"For AJ's comeback fight I would have chosen Franklin too. Not because of what AJ needs but also I believe Franklin's performance against Whyte warranted a big fight for Franklin and he will test AJ.
"I have AJ winning this, however I believe Franklin will have moments in the fight where he could possibly hurt AJ. But overall AJ's skill and experience should give him the edge in this fight.
"Yes, I do I see AJ and Whyte fighting one more time in their careers and this is the best time to make it happen as both fighters are in a transition period. I do want AJ to fight either Wilder or Fury this year, however he will have to overcome both Franklin and Whyte along with trying to avoid the politics of boxing that seems to get involved with making these big fights."
Uros Djikanovic, Boxing manager & advisor
"I think Franklin is a suitable opponent for AJ only for one reason: Joshua needs to get his confidence back. But beating Franklin won’t change a lot for him psychologically. He wanted to beat Usyk but he lost both times.
"Franklin was good in the fight against Whyte. He deserves a chance to get paid. Which, of course, he will for the fight against AJ.
"I think Joshua should retire and I’m dead serious. I think he needs to take at least a one year break from boxing. If I was his manager I would strongly advise him to retire. I’m not disrespecting Joshua in any way. He was hyped from the Olympics that he was the next big thing. Don’t get me wrong he is an amazing fighter but he needs time to reflect and analyze mistakes and start from fundamentals. He could have easily beaten Usyk in the second fight. Usyk did all the same things from the first fight. He moved to the right etc… Maybe coaching was bad, I don’t know what else to say.
"I see the fight going very well. Joshua will go all-out probably from the start to show he is still a top fighter, and if Franklin is prepared well then he can catch Joshua in the later rounds.
"I wouldn’t want to see Joshua fight Whyte. I think Joshua needs to take time off. Reflect on things and watch some good fighters like Mayweather, he was very good fighting southpaws. After that I think he has a great chance to beat Usyk like he should have done in the second fight.
"Hopefully I'm not too harsh. But I’m just being honest. He needs to go to psychiatrist and I’m not joking, plus game plan and coaching for the second fight was terrible. I’m a southpaw myself, I always had southpaw fighters. Some of them were world champions like Dejan Zlaticanin etc… plus I’m now negotiating with an amazing southpaw that is a free agent…
"I love Joshua, honestly, but he needs to go back to fundamentals. Even in the final of the Olympics against an Italian southpaw he only won because it was organised in London. Just my opinion."