Announcement Nearing For Anthony Joshua vs Jermaine Franklin As Contracts Signed
Sources tell NoSmokeBoxing that top 15, American Heavyweight Jermaine Franklin (21-1, 14 KOs) and Britain’s former unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (24-3, 22 KOs) will have both signed contracts today for an April 1 bout at London’s 18,000-capacity O2 Arena expected to land on a DAZN platform.
Franklin agreed to all terms proposed by Matchroom on Monday, 23rd of January. Promoter Eddie Hearn told IFL TV that 3 heavyweights were offered the contest but NSB understands that neither of the other two were seriously considered and that the American is the preferred man in the opposite corner.
Fight negotiations almost fell apart at the 11th hour on Sunday due to an unspecified last-minute delay that put the bout in jeopardy. Work was done throughout the night though to save the fight and now pen is expected to be put to paper imminently with an announcement shortly after. More news on this will be revealed soon by NoSmokeSport.
Another source tells NSB that plans are already in place for a launch press conference on Thursday in London to announce the contest. A news conference was originally supposed to take place in NY last week as both Franklin and Joshua are both based in the U.S. now but contracts couldn’t be signed in time.
Franklin suffered his first career defeat in November at the hands of Dillian Whyte via a 115-115, 116-112 and 116-112 majority decision. The result was controversial with the majority of fans edging the fight to Franklin but it was Whyte who got the decision.
Joshua returning on the back of consecutive defeats at the hands of P4P king Oleksandr Usyk cannot afford to come second best on April 1 or it may well be curtains for the British superstar’s storied career.
A win keeps dream fights with Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury alive for the latter part of 2023 or 2024 and sees AJ join rival Whyte in wins over Franklin before they rematch in the summer.
Other opponents in the mix for Joshua were IBF mandatory Fillip Hrgovic, Zhilei Zhang, Otto Wallin and Demsey McKean. Joshua’s trainer is understood to have favoured an orthodox fighter over a southpaw and with a Hrgovic fight potentially materialising for the full IBF title later in 2023, Franklin was the desired choice.
Earlier this year, NSB broke the news that Joshua chose the 2017 Ring Magazine trainer of the year, Derrick James to be his new coach. James, who has his gym in Dallas, Texas, is the trainer of unified welterweight titleist, Errol Spence Jr and undisputed super welterweight champion, Jermell Charlo.
Joshua parted with long-term coach Robert McCracken after his first defeat to Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk, and since then his training situation has been the centre of wide speculation and debate. It is understood that the British star turned to Californian Robert Garcia in early 2022 and staged his camp for the Usyk rematch with Garcia.
However, after just one camp with the American, the British star will once again move trainers as he now turns to the expertise of the highly-respected Derrick James. In his search for a new coach, Joshua is understood to have approached Virgil Hunter and Roy Jones Jr amongst other legendary names in the boxing industry.