Jermaine Franklin ready for starring role, not just a walk-on part in Anthony Joshua return
It’s Anthony Joshua fight week and American contender Jermaine Franklin has been given the role of a walk on part.
Joshua has been asked by Tyson Fury, his new trainer Derrick James, whether he will retire if he loses and much more besides, but there have not been many questions about Franklin.
“I was under the radar in the beginning of my career, but if you’re a real fan I shouldn’t be that far off the radar,” said Franklin, who bristled softly at the idea of being so thoroughly overlooked.
One person who is not overlooking Franklin is promoter Eddie Hearn, who has been jarred by Franklin’s leaner appearance. Hearn joked that Franklin has been in better shape for the Joshua press conference than he was for his fight with Dillian Whyte.
“He’s got a six pack,” joked Hearn. “Maybe it’s like a four-pack,” said Franklin.
“A lot of people’s been disrespectful but it doesn’t bother me at all,” Franklin continued. “I’m a huge critic of myself so I put a lot of pressure on myself, regardless. Everybody says if AJ loses to me his career’s over, but I don’t look at it that way. That’s insulting to me as a fighter. I still look at him as if he’s a world champion and still holding three belts. Boxing is the only sport where we write people off for a couple of losses. We don’t write a basketball team off when they’ve been in a slump, but in boxing, when you lose your throne – if you’re not at the top it’s like you’re at the bottom. He still has a chance to come back and reclaim.”
Joshua’s new marriage with Texan Derrick James is undoubtedly one of the main stories of the week. Franklin has been with his own coach, Jesse Addison, since the start of his journey.
“They know me inside out,” said Franklin of his team. “We developed a long relationship since I was 17, 18, so we’ve been around each other – they’re more like family to me. Derrick James is a great coach – he’s got world champions – but it takes time for a healthy relationship to develop. I could teach you some things in a short amount of time, but I still don’t know you inside-out – your weaknesses, your strengths or your flaws. It’s good for your coaches to know that type of stuff, because they know the right things to say to you; to tell you; how to get you hyped up. It’s a little deeper than the training aspect of the relationship you have with your trainer.”
Franklin feels it takes “at least a couple of years” of working daily to build up the required understanding but added: “We stay smart in there. Stay focused, because he’s still at the top, so that’s how we’re going to treat him.”
‘From what I’ve been hearing he’s going to knock me out in five rounds,” Franklin concluded. “I think he’s going to come out and try and be aggressive, and we’re ready for that. We’re ready for him trying to box, and ready for anything he can actually try to do.”