Underdog Jermaine Franklin is drawing inspiration from Tyson Fury ahead of facing Anthony Joshua on Saturday.
The American heavyweight is back in England’s capital four months on from suffering a narrow majority decision loss to Dillian Whyte at Wembley Arena.
Franklin spent time in the gym with world champion Fury before fighting Whyte and is enjoying rubbing shoulders with the best in the division.
“Yeah it was a huge inspiration just being around Tyson Fury,” Franklin told the PA news agency.
“Training in the gym with him, I was inspired, but I am not a hard person to inspire. It only takes a little bit.
“It doesn’t take much for me to feel motivated. I just honoured my time with him for the couple of weeks I was out there.
“I am starting to love it in London honestly. I have been here twice now, got a lot of love, people out here have shown me a lot of support.
“It is kind of nice to be at another place in the world and people still recognise me.
“We got here last Sunday and a couple of people stopped us in the street, someone paid for our food in a restaurant so I am very appreciative of all that.”
Saginaw-born Franklin was adamant there was no hesitation over a UK return despite the frustration of his points defeat to home fighter Whyte last time.
It was the first loss of his eight-year professional career but Joshua will face a different “warrior” this weekend with Franklin (21-1, 14KOs) boasting a six-pack after losing 28lbs and returning to being a full-time athlete.
Ahead of his bout with Whyte in November, the American was juggling full-time work.
Franklin said with a smile: “Yeah before I was working at this factory, making commercial roofing.
“I worked in the knitting department and we did maintenance to make sure the machines were running properly.
“Now I am a full-time athlete again, so I am just working out, staying in the gym and staying ready.
“Every fight brings me closer to trying to be a world champion. I take them all as life-changing. I don’t take one kindly or softly. I look at them all as do-or-die.”
Many have dubbed this weekend all or nothing for Joshua (24-3, 22KOs) after his back-to-back defeats to Oleksandr Usyk, but Franklin insists he would take no pleasure from sending the British boxer into retirement.
— Matchroom Boxing (@MatchroomBoxing) March 29, 2023
The motivation for the 29-year-old is instead to fulfil his life-long dream of being a world champion.
“I always got the most confidence in myself,” Franklin added.
“That Dillian Whyte fight just pushed it a bit more and gave me more confidence than I already have. I am extremely confident in myself and my ability all the time.
“I just love the sport. I think of myself as a warrior, as a samurai or something. I love to fight the best warriors.
“I love a challenge, I love the art and war of the sport. Honestly for me, the motivation is to prove myself to be one of the top warriors in the game.
“I just want to put myself at the top. I feel like the last fight pushed me up there and now it is time I claimed my stake up there with the top guys.”