To no one’s surprise, Anthony Joshua has won a 12-round unanimous decision over Jermaine Franklin by scores of 118-111 and 117-111 (twice).
Joshua appears somber in his corner, perhaps knowing that he’s delivered a performance that will not strike fear in the hearts of Fury, Wilder, Joyce, Anderson and the other contenders in the heavyweight cupboard.
Anthony Joshua edged out Jermaine Franklin by decision in a cagey affair in London.
Joshua was returning to the ring for the first time since losing his rematch with Oleksandr Usyk last year, and a win was essential in order to get his heavyweight career back on track. Victory for ‘AJ’ would also set up potential clashes with the likes of Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder, and breathe new life into a world title challenge.
And it was indeed the Brit who had his hand raised but he was surprisingly taken the distance by the rugged American who refused to give the Briton an inch.
The fight descended into chaos at the final bell with animosity between both teams, but Joshua reigned victorious with the scores of 118-111, 117-111, and 117-111 in his favour.
The first round began with Joshua in the ascendency in a chess match-style opening to affairs as he looked to judge the distance and work his leading left jab. After exchanging heated words in centre ring between the rounds, Joshua started to open up slightly in the second stanza with the raucous crowd delighted, but blood came trickling from the nose of the Briton after a series of neat jabs from Franklin.
The pair started to trade blows through the third period with Joshua struggling to push through the gears, and Franklin’s slick jab was proving a real weapon as the fight reached a cagey stage going into the fifth round.
A good right hand started the round but Joshua continued to struggle to make a significant breakthrough with Franklin certainly well in the fight.
Franklin continued to press forward himself at the midway point with Joshua finding himself in a real test against a slick opponent, as the pair finally exchanged in a small flurry at the end of the sixth.
It was a frustrating night so far for Joshua, with Franklin sticking his tongue out if the home favourite let his hands go.