Anthony Joshua was ringside to watch Dillian Whyte’s comeback outing against American Jermaine Franklin on Saturday night at the OVO Arena in Wembley.
Before the fight, Eddie Hearn, the promoter of Joshua, added pressure to both fighters by strongly hinting that the winner would go on to face AJ in the new year.
Franklin was relatively unknown on these shores but did boast an unbeaten record of 21 straight victories. It turned out to be an extremely close encounter with not much to choose between the two.
The fight went to the judges and you could make a case for either man to get their hand raised. Whyte came away with the majority decision, something Franklin later called ‘a robbery’.
It now looks certain ‘The Body Snatcher’ will face Joshua for a third time in 2023 and after the scores were announced Whyte and AJ shared a brief moment together.
— Matchroom Boxing (@MatchroomBoxing) November 26, 2022
There has been bad blood between the pair in the past but Joshua later revealed that the conversation was kept respectful.
Speaking on iFL TV, Joshua said:
“I just said well done, spudded him and just said well done. That was it really.”
Whether things will remain as friendly during the build up to their clash next year remains to be seen.
Post fight, speaking on the Matchroom youtube channel, Eddie Hearn said he was ‘confident’ Joshua-Whyte will happen and that it has to be a stadium fight.
“I had him edging the fight, but a very good performance from Franklin, as we knew, quality heavyweight and a tough night for Dillian Whyte.
Dillian Whyte got the nod, whether that’s in March or June or July, I feel pretty confident that fight will take place.
Every AJ fight is a stadium fight, especially against Dillian Whyte and that will be a great all British blockbuster.”