Updated:Jan 25, 2023
Anthony Joshua vs Jermaine Franklin has now been finalised for April 1st at the O2 Arena in London in what promises to be a highly interesting comeback fight for the two-time heavyweight champion.
It was only a couple of months ago when Joshua was ringside watching his old foe Dillian Whyte face Franklin in a highly competitive contest at Wembley Arena, which many believed the American did enough to emerge victorious.
However, ‘AJ’ probably never anticipated he would become the next British fighter to share the ring with Franklin. After all, since losing to Oleksandr Usyk for a second time back in August 2022, there were strong reports Joshua would jump straight into a rematch with Whyte and more recently, an undefeated Australian boxer called Demsey McKean.
Regardless, those plans have gone out of the window for the moment and Joshua will be looking to deal with Franklin in more convincing fashion than Whyte.
Despite not officially being confirmed, there are rumours Anthony Joshua has decided to go to America and join forces with the highly touted trainer of Errol Spence Jr, Derrick James. And it remains to be seen if Joshua changes his style or performs with a greater level of confidence under his new team.
Meanwhile, Franklin, now 21-1, is getting another opportunity on a massive platform and will want to return to the states with a win under his belt, rather than just an impressive performance.
Franklin has very fast hands for a heavyweight, good counter punching and the stamina to go 12 rounds. Furthermore, Joshua has struggled with similar opponents in the past, famously suffering his first professional loss to Andy Ruiz Jr in 2019 and then producing a safety-first performance in the rematch to capture a unanimous decision.
But unlike Ruiz, Franklin’s punching power is questionable after failing to significantly hurt Whyte. Therefore, unless Franklin is able to get Joshua’s respect in the ring, this could be the perfect chance for ‘AJ’ to gain bragging rights and make a statement with a knockout victory.Embed from Getty Images
Anthony Joshua vs Jermaine Franklin – Tale Of The Tape
At 6’6, Anthony Joshua will be the much taller man in the ring against the 6’2 Franklin. Hence, the Brit opting to use his longer reach and box on the back foot against the American is a real possibility. This is especially because ‘AJ’ has shown vulnerabilities when facing shorter boxers in the past and cannot afford a third consecutive loss for his career.
Nevertheless, he is not guaranteed to be the heavier man on the night. Joshua weighed in at 244.5 pounds in most recent bout against Usyk, whereas Franklin tipped the scale at 257 pounds against Whyte. So it remains to be seen if Franklin is able to stand up to Joshua’s punches and fire back with offence of his own.
At 29 years old, Franklin is slightly younger than the 33-year-old Anthony Joshua, but he has also faced much lower level opposition than him. ‘AJ’ has previously beaten the likes of Wladimir Klitschko, Kubrat Pulev and Joseph Parker. Whereas, Franklin’s best win is arguably against Jerry Forrest in 2019, when he scraped a 12-round split-decision.
Indeed, Joshua will be a big favourite going into this bout with Franklin, yet there is pressure for the former world heavyweight champion to win without too much trouble. If ‘AJ’ does come through, he is likely to face Whyte next in the summer time or another top 15 contender.
As for Franklin, a win against Joshua could set him up for a rematch against Whyte, someone many believe he was unfortunate to lose a 12-round majority decision to.