In the first boxing match after his losing duels with Oleksandr Usyk, former heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua brought in an unspectacular victory. In the O2 Arena in London, the 33-year-old Briton defeated the American Jermaine Franklin after twelve rounds with a point decision (118:111, 117:111, 117:111) and achieved his 25th success as a professional. Before the fight without a title exit, the almost two-meter-tall giant Joshua had hinted at the end of his career in the event of a defeat.
Joshua, who is almost ten centimeters taller, kept his four-year-old opponent at a distance in a tactically shaped duel thanks to his significantly better range and landed the more precise hits. Franklin, who conceded his only defeat on points against Dillian Whyte last November, repeatedly countered with furious punch combinations.
The disciplined Joshua kept the upper hand in most rounds. The American, who was ten kilograms lighter, kept clasping Joshua and throwing isolated punches. Joshua disciplinedly tried to exploit the range and set clever right hooks.
In the previous fight last August, Joshua lost in a revenge match with world champion Usyk. The Ukrainian had taken the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO world championship titles from the former conqueror of compatriot Wladimir Klitschko a year earlier in a defeat on points in London.
It wasn't until after the fight that Joshua was asked about his plans for the future that the arena really got going. The Briton made it clear that he wants a fight against WBC world champion Tyson Fury: "I know what the fans want. I'm 100 percent in. You will see me again in the summer. Wherever you are. You know me, you know my management. We're not getting any younger."