Anthony Joshua will take on Jermaine Franklin on home soil at The O2 on Saturday 1 April.

The British heavyweight has been preparing in the USA, working alongside new trainer Derrick James.

To boxing casuals, Franklin may not be a household name. Nicknamed “989 Assassin”, he most recently fought against Dillian Whyte and lost by majority decision – though many felt he had won the fight.

At the very least, he proved his durability and hand speed and that he is capable of mixing with elite heavyweights.

“I’ve always been confident in myself – I never lacked in confidence,” Franklin says. “I feel like I won the [Whyte] fight 7-5 from what I watched. But it’s boxing, I’m not going to cry about it. It was just back to the drawing board for me.”

The man from Saginaw, Michigan has been boxing professionally since 2015, with a record of 21-1 and a knockout percentage of 67 per cent (14 KOs).

Franklin’s career has been interrupted by managerial issues, which at one point led to a two-and-a-half year hiatus. Indeed this week it emerged that he was filing a lawsuit against his current promoter, Salita Promotions.

With the fight against Joshua just days away, that is something he will have to place to the back of his mind if he wants to have his hand raised.

How to watch

  • Date: Saturday 1 April
  • Venue: MCM Grand, Las Vegas, USA
  • Fight time: Ring walks for the main event are expected around 10.15pm UK time
  • TV/live stream: The only place to watch the fight in the UK is on DAZN. Subscriptions start from £9.99 a month – this is the first AJ fight for seven years that has not been pay-per-view

However, as the clear underdog Franklin is not under the same pressure his opponent is to perform.

Joshua, on the other hand, has been told to retire if he does not win on Saturday by Sky Sports pundit Johnny Nelson.

“If Anthony Joshua loses, he jacks it in,” Nelson said.

“If he doesn’t jack in, he should jack in, because it’s a hard mountain to climb, especially when you’ve had the success and the heights that he’s had. So he can’t afford to lose, that’s a must.”

Win, and Tyson Fury is suddenly a possibility again.

By admin