Fri. Jun 2nd, 2023

Jermaine Franklin showed his “ability to be an elite heavyweight” in a battling points defeat to Anthony Joshua, says his promoter Dmitriy Salita.

The American contender with stood Joshua’s punches and bloodied the nose of the former unified world heavyweight champion during a unanimous decision loss at The O2 on Saturday night.

Franklin was also beaten on points by Dillian Whyte in November, but Salita believes the 29-year-old has shown that he belongs with the division’s best after emerging with credit from both fights.

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Anthony Joshua has called for a heavyweight showdown against British rival Tyson Fury

Back-to-back world class performances for Jermaine,” Salita told Sky Sports.

“Once again last night Jermaine showed that he has the ability to be an elite heavyweight in the division.

“Jermaine will learn, grow and I believe has all the skills to be a heavyweight world champion.”

Joshua pushed Franklin on the head with his glove after the final bell, sparking an angry confrontation with the Michigan man’s training team, but Salita voiced his admiration for the British star.

“Much respect to Joshua – he is a class act,” said Salita.

Anthony Joshua, Jermaine Franklin
Joshua clashed with Franklin after the final bell

“I know he had the pressure of the world on his shoulders last night, but did a good job and put himself in the mix for mega fights in the division.”

Joshua’s last stoppage defeat came against Kubrat Pulev in December 2020, and the 33-year-old expressed his frustration after he was unable to break Franklin’s resistance.

“Deep, deep, deep down, I’m not happy because the ultimate goal is a knockout,” said Joshua at the post-fight press conference. “There’s nothing that can top a knockout.

“There were opportunities. Opportunities where I pushed [for a KO]. But you know what as well, I’m fighting someone who came in with a plan to win, he had a good training camp. You saw him last time out [against Whyte]. He’s done well to stay in there.

London, UK: Anthony Joshua v Jermaine Franklin, Heavyweight Contest.1 April 2023.Picture By Mark Robinson Matchroom Boxing.
Joshua was unable to find a finishing punch

“I can’t blame Franklin for anything that goes on in that ring because it’s all about me. I’ve got to take accountability, so if I didn’t want Franklin to hold me, I’ve got to move my feet, create space.

“That’s just down to me and if I would have created space, I would have been able to get that knockout, so it’s not him. It’s all me.”

Reflecting on his post-fight fracas with Franklin, he said: “Honestly, it’s just a fight. You’re fighting someone who wants to win.

“Round by round we’re kind of talking to each other. I’m pushing his head and [stuff] like that. So there’s a bit of ego, pride that happens in that ring and it just spills over till the final bell and that’s all it really is. It’s all respect.

“But at the same time it’s a fight, it’s different. When you’re in that square circle it’s a different kind of energy, that you may not or someone else may not understand.

“I matched that energy. It didn’t get under my skin, I just kind of raised my game. You want to trash talk, I’ll trash talk as well.”

By cb2gp