The topic of Anthony Joshua’s next opponent has been one of prolonged speculation, with various heavyweights being linked to a big money fight with ‘AJ’ since he was defeated by Oleksandr Usyk for a second time in August.
Otto Wallin, Demsey McKean and Zhilei Zhang have all been touted as potential comeback options for Joshua, as he looks to rebuild towards another shot at a world title with a pencilled in date of April 1.
And it seems a new name has emerged as a frontrunner for a spring meeting with the Brit – recent Dillian Whyte opponent Jermaine Franklin.
According to The Daily Star, Franklin is being seriously considered by promoter Eddie Hearn, after the American gave a good account of himself in defeat to Whyte last November.
‘The Body Snatcher’ got his hand raised that night at Wembley Arena, however there were many onlookers who believed Franklin had done enough to be awarded the victory.
Hearn revealed last week that a plan had been laid out for Joshua to return to action against a “top 15” opponent in April, before going into a rematch with old foe Whyte at some point in the summer.
The Matchroom boss also confirmed Joshua had ended his hunt for a new trainer, with Derrick James believed to be the man in question.
2017 Ring Magazine trainer of the year James currently works with undisputed light middleweight world champion Jermell Charlo, as well as unified welterweight world champion Errol Spence Jr.
James’ fighters are usually known to be spiteful and aggressive, so the Texan could be the perfect remedy to the perceived tentativeness that some believe has crept into Joshua’s game.
An announcement as to opponent is expected in the coming days, with Hearn eager to get an important year for his fighter moving.