Two-time heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua is returning to the ring to face Jermaine Franklin at the O2 Arena in London. Joshua, 33, is seeking his first victory since defeating veteran boxer Kubrat Pulev by knockout back in December 2020.
The former Olympic gold medalist has lost both of his last two fights in 2021 and 2022 to Ukrainian boxer and new world champion Oleksandr Usyk.
Joshua is aiming to put on a show in his comeback fight in front of new trainer Derrick James - but what can we expect from his opponent Jermaine Franklin and is the American likely to cause an upset?
Here is everything you need to know.
Who is Jermain Franklin?
Jermaine Franklin is a 29-year-old American boxer who hails from Saginaw, Michigan. He is nicknamed the 989 Assassin and he is viewed as a rising star in the heavyweight division.
Franklin has been boxing professionally since 2015 and he currently has a record of 21 victories and one defeat. Franklin has won 14 of his fights by knockout and he has a knockout ratio of 67%.
The 989 Assassin’s best career victories to date have been against experienced professionals Jerry Forrest and Rydell Booker with both of those victories coming by way of decision.
Franklin suffered the first defeat of his career in November 2022, when he came head to head with British title contender Dillian Whyte. Franklin went the distance with Whyte and impressed in spells throughout the fight, but he ultimately fell to a majority decision loss on the judges scorecard.
However, many viewers felt the decision was harsh on Franklin and the 29-year-old expressed his frustration in the post-fight interview, stating: “I felt like I got robbed. I felt like I had to done enough to win the decision.”
Franklin initially pushed for a rematch with Whyte but nothing materialised. However, he is now focused on the biggest challenge of his career against Anthony Joshua and he knows a potential victory will catapult him into the world title mix.
Ahead of the fight Franklin said on social media: “One thing I learned about boxing. Never let the judges decide the winner. April 1, tell the judges to take the night off. We won’t need them. I don’t play boxing.”
When is Anthony Joshua vs Jermaine Franklin?
The fight between Anthony Joshua and Jermaine Franklin will take place at the O2 Arena in London on Saturday 1 April.
The main event will get underway at approximately 10.30pm UK time. The undercard for the fight begins at around 7pm. No details have been released for the undercard as of yet and there is expected to be further announcements in the coming weeks.
The match marks Joshua’s first fight without at least one world title on the line in almost seven years.
Joshua is hoping to regain the world heavyweight title in the near future and join the illustrious group of three-time heavyweight champions alongside Muhammad Ali, Lennox Lewis and Vitali Klitchsko.
How to watch the fight - are tickets available?
Anthony Joshua’s fight with Jermaine Franklin is televised on DAZN PPV in the UK. Fans can subscribe to the channel for £9.99 a month.
Alternatively you can also stream all the action on your mobile phone or tablet device by using the DAZN app.
Tickets for AJ’s big comeback fight are expected to be in high demand.
Promoters at Matchroom Boxing released the following statement ahead of the bout: “Matchroom Boxing have opened a free-to-enter ballot system, which will allow fans an additional avenue to secure tickets.
“The ballot is open now, closing on Thursday 9 February at 10am and will be drawn at random prior to general sale. Successful applicants will be notified by email and then have until 5pm on Monday 13 February to purchase two tickets.”
Tickets for the fight go on general sale at 12pm on Thursday 9 February. Ticket prices range from £40 to £800 for VIP. You can purchase tickets at AXS.com.