AJ Agrees to Face Jermaine Franklin at the O2 in April
Anthony Joshua has agreed a deal to face American heavyweight Jermaine Franklin at the O2 Arena on April 1.
According to UK’s Sportsmail, Joshua has not stepped foot in the ring since his second-successive defeat by Oleksandr Usyk in August 2022 – having lost his WBA, WBO and IBF belts to the Ukrainian in September 2021.
But Joshua will face Franklin – who trained alongside Tyson Fury in the build-up to his showdown with Dillian Whyte in November 2022 – in a must-win fight as he looks to work his way back to the top of the heavyweight division.
Joshua and Franklin have agreed on the financials for the fight and were due to sign the final paperwork late last night.
Joshua will be looking to reassert his dominance in the heavyweight division, while Franklin will be looking to bounce back from his defeat by Whyte in November 2022.
Joshua looked set to face Fury in December but negotiations between the two British boxers collapsed in October after the Gypsy King grew frustrated with how long AJ’s team were taking to sign the contract.
AJ was disappointed to see the deal fall through as they had made good progress – having agreed on the financial terms of the fight, splitting the purse 60/40 in the favour of the WBC champion.
The pair had also named the Principality Stadium in Cardiff as the chosen location and agreed on the TV rights – which were said to be stumbling block. However, it wasn’t meant to be.
AJ was then linked to unbeaten Australian heavyweight Demsey McKean as the southpaw called for the fight after he won the IBF Intercontinental heavyweight belt last October.
However, Sportsmail can confirm that Joshua has agreed a deal to face Franklin at the O2 Arena on April 1 instead.
Franklin went toe-to-toe with Whyte in November 2022 but the British boxer emerged victorious with a majority decision after their 12-round contest at Wembley Arena.