By: Sean Crose
Despite what many fight fans have seemed to believe in recent years, a loss in the ring is not the end of things for a fighter. At this very moment, American heavyweight Jermaine Franklin can certainly attest to that fact. According to numerous reports, the man is set to face former WBA, IBF and WBO world heavyweight titlist Anthony Joshua on April 1st at London’s O2 Arena. Franklin was last seen in action facing longtime contender Dillian Whyte back in November. Whyte won the fight, though it was close. Quite close.
And now he’s facing Joshua. A win here will absolutely catapult the man’s career. The focus here, however, is on Joshua himself, and rightfully so. The man is a two time multi-belt world titlist, after all. What’s more, this fight – which indeed looks like it’s going to happen – presents a make or break scenario for the towering Londoner. For Joshua has lost his past two fights in a row – both to Oleksandr Usyk. Now, without his titles and with his reputation having taken a serious hit, the man is in considerable need of a victory.
This of course, leads to the conclusion that Joshua is clearly expected to win this bout. Franklin is considered to be good enough to face Joshua, but not good enough to win. Team Joshua is looking for their man to avoid diving right in to a major matchup with someone along the lines of Tyson Fury or Deontay Wilder. Usyk showed the man’s limitations, so Joshua not only has to be mindful of his competition at the moment, but must also grow a bit as a fighter. There’s a reason, after all, why Joshua has been busy looking for a new trainer. He’s focusing on his career entering a new stage rather than risking have it collapsing around him.
The point? That although no major titles are at stake, this is a fight of considerable relevance. For Joshua, it can mean saving his career, or even sending it off in a new direction. For Franklin, it’s the opportunity of a lifetime, one which can supercharge his entire resume – and perhaps even the current state of the heavyweight division. At 33 years of age, the 27-3 Joshua has plenty of time to get his career back on track. And at 29 years of age, Franklin is in the perfect position to ring in the division’s new guard.
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