Anthony Joshua will be fighting Jermaine Franklin on the first day of April.
Dillian Whyte, whom Joshua knocked out seven years ago, figured he was next in line to fight the former two-time heavyweight champion.
Whyte was hardly amused.
“It’s no surprise to me that they have chosen April 1st for this battle of the fools,” Whyte told Ben Davies of the mirror.co.uk last week. “I faced Franklin, the most dangerous and undefeated version of him, and beat him. Eddie was promising him many millions to fight AJ if he beat me.”
“Eddie,” – Eddie Hearn to you and me, also promised Whyte millions for a rematch with Joshua. Now his thinking is if Joshua gets past Franklin, which he should, Whyte will fight Joshua this fall.
“It’s protecting AJ because they all know if he loses again, he will probably jack it in, and a lot of people will be left with limp d***s in their hands,” Whyte said to the thesun.co.uk a few days ago.“I know DAZN need content for their subscribers, but why choose to fight a low-profile American coming off a loss instead of having a massive British tear-up?
I thought Franklin was dangerous.
Whyte is correct to state that Hearn is protecting Joshua. The guy rarely fights anymore – three bouts in three years.
“Eddie” wasn’t very happy over the criticism the fight with Franklin received.
“The haters go, ‘Jermaine Franklin? Oh, what a [bad] fight,’” Hearn said on The DAZN Boxing Show. “At the same time, those same haters say that Jermaine Franklin won the fight against Dillian Whyte by three or four rounds. F…me. So, he didn’t win that fight? That wasn’t a great performance by Jermaine Franklin? Apparently, Anthony Joshua has no confidence. He’s a shot fighter. He’s finished, but he’s coming off those defeats to fight a guy that you said just beat Dillian Whyte by three or four rounds.”
Joshua’s apex was seven years ago when he defeated 41-year-old former champion Wladimir Klitschko. Knocked down and seemingly out on his feet in round six, Joshua dug deep to stop Klitschko in round 11 at a raucous Wembley Stadium in London.
Since then, it’s been five up (wins) and three down (losses). The most shocking occurred against Andy Ruiz in 2019. Joshua looked to be on his way to another knockout victory when Ruiz – seconds after absorbing a hellacious punch, caught Joshua with a temple shot. Joshua teetered, and went down. The fight ended in round seven after Joshua found himself on the floor two more times.
Joshua won the rematch but lost back-to-back decisions to the more talented Oleksandr Usyk.
Franklin gave Whyte all he could handle last November–losing by a majority decision. Many disagreed. Tyson Fury had knocked Whyte out in his previous fight and looks to be in the twilight of his career.
Not that he was all that good to begin with.
Franklin is confident.
“I’m ready to show the world why it’s time for me to take my place at the top of the Heavyweight division,” Franklin said. “Joshua had his time. This fight isn’t going to the judge’s card. I will have win number 22 come April 1. That ain’t no April Fool’s joke.”
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