Normally stern, Jermaine Franklin had a big grin on his face. The 29-year-old was confident he had secured the best win of his career after pushing Dillian Whyte to the limit during their matchup in November.
The American contestant raised his fists in celebration, but he was shocked when Whyte was awarded a fairly contentious majority decision.
Franklin (21-1, 14 KOs), who was left to lick his wounds, discovered that his name was on a long list of potential rivals for Anthony Joshua's comeback. The former unified champion carefully considered a variety of opponents before deciding to challenge Franklin.
Joshua, of course, has seen the decline of his once-glamourous career. Even his longtime promoter Eddie Hearn is curious to see how his fighter will recover after suffering back-to-back losses to Oleksandr Usyk. Hearn predicts that there will be a lot of answers by April 1st, especially given Franklin's resilience and intriguing offensive production.
“I think it’s a great fight,” said Hearn during a recent interview with Seconds Out. “He had a tremendous fight with Dillian Whyte, showed how good he is. Obviously, AJ is coming off two defeats, a lot of question marks for him. I feel like Franklin will be the guy to tell us where he’s at.”
Joshua's ultimate objective still stands as being very clear: to completely eliminate Franklin and move on to larger and better things.
Joshua (24-3, 22 KOs) is adamant that at least one more title run is still in him, and he also longs for fights with Whyte and Deontay Wilder. Even Hearn, a steadfast backer of the former unified champion, will acknowledge that Joshua's pugilistic journey will soon to its conclusion if he loses to Franklin.