SOURCES: ‘Front Runner’ Opponent Jermaine Franklin Agrees To All Terms To Fight Anthony Joshua On April 1


Jermaine Franklin Set To Be Joshua’s Comeback Fight With Announcement Nearing

Sources tell NoSmokeBoxing that top 15, American Heavyweight Jermaine Franklin (21-1, 14 KOs) has agreed to all terms to face Britain’s former unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (24-3, 22 KOs) on April 1 at London’s 18,000-capacity O2 Arena live on DAZN pay-per-view. Daily Mail first with the story.

Although Franklin has accepted a deal to face Joshua, there is no signed contract yet. Promoter Eddie Hearn told IFL TV that 3 heavyweights were offered the contest but NSB understands that the American is the preferred man in the opposite corner.

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.

By Darshan Desai

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