The talk of Jermaine Franklin facing Anthony Joshua on April 1 at London’s O2 Arena is set to be confirmed next week via an official press conference.
Joshua (24-3, 22 KOs) will be returning following two successive defeats to Oleksandr Usyk in which he lost and then failed to regain his unified heavyweight titles. As the Ukrainian steams ahead to an undisputed bout with Tyson Fury, ‘AJ’ is face a climb back to the top.
Enter Franklin (21-1, 14 KOs), who is best known to British fans for his recent decision loss to Dillian Whyte. Despite losing via unanimous judges scores in November, the American made a good enough account of himself for many fans to feel like he deserved the win.
Now with one defeat on his record, the 29-year-old known as the ‘989 Assassin’ is looking to spoil Joshua’s comeback part in which he’s expected to unveil his work with new trainer, Derrick James.
The bout has been rumoured for weeks now, and Sky Sports are reporting that all terms are agreed for it to go ahead.
Promoter Eddie Hearn has praised Franklin as an opponent, telling the BBC that it was a tough ask but he expected nothing less than a big victory for his man.
“If AJ doesn’t win this fight, then we’ve got a major problem. I believe you’ll see a statement from a guy who is very dangerous, very motivated to become a three-time heavyweight world champion.”
The fight, as per Joshua’s longterm deal, will be broadcast on DAZN, although Hearn was coy when asked it would be as part of customers’ regular subscription price or added on as a pay-per-view extra.
As Usyk and Fury finalise negotiations for their undisputed fight, 2023 for Joshua is all about getting his confidence back, learning under James and positioning himself for a shot in the future at becoming three-time world champion. That all starts with Franklin.