Anthony Joshua vs Jermaine Franklin fight verdict and suggested bets

·5-min read
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Date, start time and venue

Saturday, April 1, 02 Arena, London. The main card will start around 7pm, with the ring walks for the featured 12-round heavyweight contest getting underway around 10:30pm, live on DAZN.

Suggested bets

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  • Fabio Wardley vs Michael Polite Coffie; heavyweight

  • Matteo Signani vs Felix Cash; for the EBU European middleweight title

  • Austin Williams vs River Wilson-Bent; middleweight

  • Campbell Hatton vs Louis Fielding; super lightweight

  • John Hedges vs Daniel Bocianski; light heavyweight

  • Jordan Flynn vs Kane Barker; super featherweight

  • Juergen Uldedaj vs Benoit Huber; cruiserweight

  • Ziyad Almaayouf vs Georgi Velichkov; super lightweight

  • Peter Kadiru vs Alen Lauriolle; heavyweight

Fight preview

Anthony Joshua returns to these shores after losing his rematch on a split decision to Oleksandr Usyk in Saudi Arabia last August. That was his second defeat to the former cruiserweight, who defeated him via a unanimous verdict the first time in September 2021. Joshua has since appointed new trainer Derrick James to mastermind his comeback after parting ways with long-time trainer Robert McCracken and more recently Robert Garcia. The former world champion had to shake something up after failing twice against Usyk and looking a shell of the aggressive fighter he was coming up through the ranks. Joshua, 33, has been in Texas, USA working with James, who also has the likes of Errol Spence Jr and Jermell Charlo in his ranks. James himself was a modest fighter but, as a trainer, he is a former Ring Magazine Trainer of the Year and WBA, WBC and Sports Illustrated 'Trainer of the Year' in 2020.

Be 'present'

James has made it clear that he is focused on getting the best version of Joshua, rather than worrying about his opponent Franklin. James, who is renowned for coaching his men to be
aggressive, has denied he wants AJ to be a "dog". Instead, he wants a smart Joshua but revealed the Brit will be "present" in the fight against his US opponent. That could be translated as AJ showing up at the O2 to impose himself on his smaller opponent. Joshua will have a four-inch height advantage and a considerable reach advantage. He may be giving away weight though, something he is not used to. Joshua weighed in at 244.5lbs against Usyk - 4.5lbs heavier than the first fight. Franklin was at 257lbs against Dillian Whyte - 20 pounds lighter than his last outing against Rodney Moore. AJ has looked ripped and has been training hard in Dallas and will have, no doubt, been taking tips from Spence and Co. Joshua is the heavy 1/14 favourite and he should get the job done against an opponent who was unbeaten before losing to Whyte on a majority decision in November. The fact that AJ has changed up his trainer and shaken up his camp inspires a degree of confidence that his approach will be different and ultimately more aggressive. Going back to basics may not be a bad thing for Joshua, who looked unclear about his plan in the first fight with Usyk. The fact is that Joshua has gone the distance in four of his last five fights and he will be looking to reignite a more ruthless hard-hitting style against Franklin.

What does Franklin bring to the table?

According to James, Franklin is a "talented and skilled" fighter. But his defeat last time out was more of a slug-fest than a boxing match. It was a one-paced affair with Franklin's over-the-top right his best asset. But despite matching Whyte, he rarely threatened the Brit, who came on strong in the final minute of the last round. His trademark left hook sent Franklin stumbling into the ropes, but there wasn't enough time for Whyte to get the job done. Instead, it went to the cards and the scores reflected the close nature of the contest with one scoring it a 115-115 draw, while two cards read 116-112 in Whyte's favour. Franklin thought he had won and said he felt like he was "robbed". Whyte to his credit revealed that his opponent's "stock rose". A similar showing from Franklin is unlikely to trouble Joshua, who is expected to be a different animal back in the ring. Franklin will be better for the experience. It was his first fight outside of the United States and only his third fight in three years. Ironically the winner was said to be the next opponent of Joshua, but it's Franklin who has got the gig and who could carve out a name for himself if he improves and sees off Joshua (8/1).


Franklin does have 14 knockouts on his record, but the majority of those came in the early part of his career and as he has stepped up in class those KOs have been harder to find. Joshua, meanwhile, has 22 KOs on his record with only Joseph Parker and Andy Ruiz going the distance in his fight victories. But the latter caused AJ all sorts of problems in the first fight between the pair at Madison Square Garden in 2019. That shock defeat was the start of Joshua's apparent decline and Franklin is not too dissimilar in style. However, the input from James should see Joshua get back to the style he once held when he disposed of Wladimir Klitschko back in 2017. The Watford man is reported to be set for a £10m payday, but it's the all-important win that he is chasing and a statement knockout that James will be looking for. With that in mind, it's worth backing the home fighter to win in rounds 10 to 12.

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