Friday, June 02, 2023  |



Anthony Joshua cruises to unanimous decision over tough Jermaine Franklin

Anthony Joshua takes it to Jermaine Franklin en route to a 12-round UD in London on April 1. Photo / @MatchroomBoxing
Fighters Network

Former two-time unified heavyweight titleholder Anthony Joshua got back into the win column with a careful but one-sided unanimous decision over Jermaine Franklin in the 12-round main event of a Matchroom Boxing card in London on Saturday.

Joshua (25-3, 22 KOs), the Ring’s No. 3-rated heavyweight, rebounded from back-to-back decision losses to current Ring champion Oleksandr Usyk with scores of 118-111 and 117-111 (twice) to the delight of the 19,000 in attendance at the O2 Arena.

Franklin (21-2, 14 KOs) was game throughout the match but was unable to overcome the size (the 6-foot-6 Joshua is four inches taller and weighed in at 255, 20 pounds heavier) and boxing tactics from the British star, who used a ram-rod jab to set up head-snapping straight rights and would hold and lean on the often frustrated American anytime the action got too close for comfort.

However, Franklin, who proved to have a world-class chin, was plucky enough to make for many competitive rounds even though he lost most of them. The 29-year-old Michigan native flashed quicker hands and was able to find a home for his overhand right, which bloodied Joshua’s nose in Round 2, as well as select body shots and uppercuts. The blazing combinations he exhibited en route to a majority decision loss to Dillian Whyte last November were missing due to Joshua’s disciplined boxing, which elicited negative comments from the denizens of Boxing Twitter, who questioned his confidence and accused him of “overthinking.”

Joshua, who fought with new trainer Derrick James in his corner, gave Franklin his due and was a little hard on himself.

“Jermaine’s got a good duck-and-dive style,” Joshua said during his post-fight interview on DAZN, which streamed the fight live. “There were opportunities to knock him out, and I should have knocked him out, but when people come to fight me, they rustle up a different kind of energy, they ain’t here to roll over. I wish I could have knocked him out.”

Joshua landed powerful right crosses but Franklin’s chin held up. Photo / @MatchroomBoxing

So did James, but The Ring’s 2017 Trainer of the Year was satisfied with his new fighter’s performance. The Texas-based trainer said with another camp in Houston, fans will see Joshua add more offensive layers to the jab-and-hold style he exhibited on April 1.

Joshua said fans will see him in the ring again before the end of the summer. Against whom is anyone’s guess.

“I know who the fans want,” Joshua said during the post-fight interview. The fans in attendance shouted “Fury.”

“The ball’s in his court,” Joshua said of Tyson Fury, the undefeated WBC titleholder and fellow UK star. “Wherever you are, I hope you’re listening. We’re not getting any younger.”



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