Heavyweight Jermaine Franklin on fight with Whyte: ‘I’m here to spoil his party’

Undefeated heavyweight contender Jermaine Franklin sent a stern warning to Dillian Whyte as he looks to stamp his credentials as a future world champion in their headlining clash this Saturday night taking place at Wembley Arena in London and streaming live on DAZN.

“This is my chance to show that I can go toe-to-toe with any heavyweight in the world,” said Franklin, who owns a perfect 21-0 record with 14 knockouts. “I’ve had a great training camp and I’m super motivated to be in the U.K. and win on my opponent’s home turf. I’m coming to finish him, so he better not be looking past me.”

Franklin has worked his way into heavyweight contention with 2019 triumphs over Rydell Booker, Jerry Forrest and Pavel Sour, before most recently stopping Rodney Moore in May. Saginaw, Michigan’s Franklin has been one of many fighters from Michigan, including women’s boxing superstar Claressa Shields. With a victory on Saturday night, Franklin’s promoter, Dmitriy Salita, believes he can solidify himself as one of the standouts from the area.

“Everybody knows that Jermaine has tremendous skill and heart, but they’re going to see him take it to another level against Dillian Whyte,” said Salita. “He’s been a big part of the comeback for boxing in Michigan and I truly believe that after Saturday night, he’s going to be one of the first guys you have to mention when talking about boxing in and around the area. The sky is the limit for him and I know that he’s doing everything possible to put on the best performance of his career in this fight.”

The 29-year-old Franklin will be looking to hand Whyte his second-straight loss after the London-resident dropped an April bout against WBC heavyweight titleholder Tyson Fury. Although Franklin has made it clear that his focus is squarely on Whyte, he and his promoter both know that a triumph on Saturday could lead to a blockbuster clash against another notable U.K. heavyweight, former two-time unified champion Anthony Joshua.

“I’ve never looked past any fighter and I’m not going to start with Dillian Whyte,” said Franklin. “I know that nothing I want happens unless I go in there and be the fighter that I know I am. Anthony Joshua is another big name and everyone knows that’s who Whyte wants next. But I’m here to spoil his party and step right in there to add Joshua’s name to my resume as well. No one can deny me my shot after that.”

Prediction: Oleksandr Usyk-Anthony Joshua II

Former unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua knows what it takes to rebound from adversity. The 32-year-old fought in the United States for the first time in 2019 and was heavily favored against Andy Ruiz Jr. at Madison Square Garden. 

However, Ruiz stunned the boxing world by getting up from a knockdown and stopping Joshua in 7, but Joshua got the rematch and ultimately got his revenge as he beat Ruiz by unanimous decision later that year.

Now, on August 20, at the King Abdullah Sports City Arena in the coastal city of Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Joshua(24-2, 22 KOs) is trying to do the same against a more challenging opponent in unified heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk(19-0, 13 KOs), who defeated Joshua by unanimous decision in 2021.

Joshua says he’s ready and called this a “must-win” fight.

That’s it. It’s a “must-win” fight,” he said this week. “Preparations have been tough, but I like the pressure. Robert Garcia, Angel Fernandez, members of my previous team as well; they’ve been pushing me, challenging me, ensuring I stay focused, and positioning me to get the job done and emerge victorious come Saturday night.

“I’m looking forward to it. I want to compete. I’m looking forward to it. I can’t really say muchelse, but you’ve got to have a competitive spirit. I’m prepared to do whatever it takes, and I’m looking forward to competing this weekend.”

Usyk, 35, expects the rematch to be a very great fight.

“We learned from each other in the first fight, but this is a continuation, and the first round on Saturday will be round 13,” Usyk said. “We had enough time to study each other. We were born to compete for life, for belts, for everything. The one who does not compete does not win. All our lives are competitions for something or somebody. That’s why we are competing. We’ve had enough time to study each other, and this Saturday will be a great, great fight.”

Prediction:

Joshua has a new trainer in Robert Garcia, and again, we’ve seen what he did in the rematch against Ruiz. He avoided fighting inside and used his size and jab to get the job done. Joshua will have to use his size(6-5, 244 pounds) to defeat Usyk(6-3, 221 pounds). Joshua has the power to drop and stop Usyk, while the Ukrainian is a technician and skills pay the bills, which favors Usyk. 

Joshua tried to box Usyk in their first fight; it appears to get the win in the rematch, he must make it a little dirty.

In reality, Usyk did not look great in his first two fights at heavyweight, but he put it all together against Joshua. This is his fourth fight at heavyweight, and it appears he has grown into the weight.

It’s hard to pick against Usyk, but you can’t dismiss the fight in Joshua. My mind says Usyk, but my heart is telling me, Joshua.

Winner: Joshua by split decision.

Photo credit: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing

Badou Jack to battle Richard Rivera on Usyk-Joshua undercard

Former Two Division Boxing World Champion and Global Philanthropist Badou Jack (26-3-3, 16 KOs) will make his Saudi Arabian debut on the undercard of Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua, August 20 in Jeddah against unbeaten prospect Richard Rivera (21-0, 16 KO’s).

Jack, 38, has been very active in the Middle East region with his promotional company, Badou Jack Promotions, having promoted the first ever PPV Boxing and Kickboxing card in Dubai in May of 2019 and working with other promotions to stage his own fights in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Most recently, Jack, dubbed “The People’s Champion” fought on the Floyd Mayweather exhibition in Abu Dhabi in May at the Etihad Arena, with a quick 46 second first round knockout victory. Previous to that, he made his UAE debut in Dubai with a 2nd round KO of Samuel Crossed.

“I’m excited to make my Saudi debut on such a big event on August 20 in Jeddah,” Jack stated. “This is another great event that Badou Jack Promotions is a part of and my team and I are looking forward to many more in the region.”

“I’m super excited for this fight and can’t wait to showcase my talent,” said Jack’s opponent, “Popeye” Richard Rivera, who is promoted by Joe Deguardia’s Star Boxing. “I wanted this fight for a few years now, so I am extremely grateful for this opportunity. It’s time for a veteran, Badou Jack, to pass the torch down.”

“We are thrilled to announce Badou’s Saudi debut on this mega event” Badou Jack Promotions CEO Amer Abdallah said. “We have a wonderful relationship with great partners in the Middle East and Badou Jack Promotions will continue to be extremely eventful in this part of the world. We are looking forward to making many more big announcements in the very near future.”

Joshua: ‘The fight with Usyk, he bust my a** for some rounds’

On August 20, in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, former unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua has revenge on his mind as he battles unified heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk.

The last time these two met was in December 2020 in London, and on that night, Usyk dominated and defeated Joshua by unanimous decision. Since then, things have changed for Joshua. He has a new deal with DAZN and a new trainer in Robert Garcia.

“Things happen in life, but resilience, mental toughness, and consistency will always prevail,” Joshua said at a press conference on Tuesday. “We’re still on the road; we’re still on the road to Undisputed for sure. It’s just a little blip in the road, but I’m focused on the target which is sitting over there (points to Usyk).”

The 32-year-old Joshua acknowledged that Usyk got the better of him in their first fight, but this time around, he plans to keep it simple.

“The fight with Usyk, he bust my ass for some rounds,” Joshua said. “I have to take that defeat like a man as well. I hold myself accountable. I’m someone who can admit when I’m wrong and hold my head high when I’m right. The fight in September, he was right, and I was wrong. Simply, I have to reverse that role on August 20. I don’t like to overcomplicate the situation because there’s simplicity in genius. Sometimes if you keep things simple, you can achieve great things, so I’m just going to keep things simple, move forward, and the date will soon come.”

Garcia believes Joshua has the necessary tools to handle Usyk in the rematch.

“He’s the bigger man, he’s the stronger man, he’s got the reach advantage, so we’re going to take advantage of all that,” Garcia said. “Come that day; I think without a doubt we’re going to have a three-time Heavyweight Champion of the World. We’ve got to be prepared for everything. Usyk is a great fighter; he’s got skills, reflexes, accuracy – he’s got everything. I think Anthony has the tools to beat him. We just have to do the things in the gym.”

Skills pay the bills, and Usyk has all the skills in the world, so getting revenge won’t be easy for Joshua on August 20.

Courtesy: Saudi Ministry of Sport

Joshua: ‘I am the happiest and most motivated I have been’

Unified Heavyweight World Champion Oleksandr Usyk will put his IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO World Titles on the line against Anthony Joshua in the coastal city of Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on Saturday August 20.

One of the biggest Heavyweight rematches in the history of the sport, Usyk vs. Joshua 2, billed ‘Rage on the Red Sea’, will take place nearly three years on from the historic ‘Clash on the Dunes’ event at the Diriyah Arena that saw Joshua reclaim his Heavyweight crowns against Andy Ruiz Jr.

Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs) was dethroned as Heavyweight King by Ukrainian pound-for-pound star Usyk in September 2021 in front of over 60,000 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, England on a memorable evening in boxing’s marquee division.

Since the pair’s first meeting, former Undisputed Cruiserweight World Champion Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs) has gained further global attention after putting the rematch on hold to support his home nation on the front line during their ongoing conflict.

I have a goal, with the help of the Lord I will complete my mission!,” Usyk said.

Joshua wants to get revenge, and according to him, he’s in a good place.

“What a roller coaster journey, fighting for the Heavyweight Championship of the World for the 12th consecutive time,” said Joshua. “I won the belt, unified the division won another belt, lost the belts, became two-time Unified Heavyweight Champion and now have my date with history set to become three-time Unified Heavyweight Champion of the World. What an opportunity

“Fighting championship level back to back has had its pros and cons, but I decide every day to get stronger, to learn from my experiences and grow. A happy fighter is a dangerous fighter and I am the happiest and most motivated I have been.”

Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn expects Joshua to be ready on fight night.

We know Oleksandr Usyk is a great fighter and we saw that last time out, but I know Anthony Joshua is more determined than ever. It was a huge success to host Anthony Joshua’s contest with Andy Ruiz Jr. in The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2019 and we are looking forward to working with the country again to stage this historic event. So, no doubt all eyes of the world will be on the ring come Saturday August 20th. This is a story of redemption, and the countdown starts now.”

Usyk on win over Joshua: ‘You didn’t see the best Usyk’

The new unified heavyweight champion(IBF, WBA, WBO) of the world, Oleksander Usyk( 19-0, 13 KOs), showed why he is one of the best in the heavyweight division and maybe one of the pound-for-pound best in boxing after he defeated Anthony Joshua(24-2, 21 KOs) by unanimous decision at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on Saturday night.

Usyk, a former undisputed champion at cruiserweight, was fighting at heavyweight for the third time in his career. The Ukrainian native first two fights in the heavyweight division were not impressive, but Saturday night was different.

The 34-year-old Usyk showcased his prolific boxing skills against Joshua, which led to him hurting Joshua multiple times, including in the 12th and final round. Usyk had Joshua in trouble against the ropes before the final bell rang.

All three judges(117-112, 116-112, 115-113) had it for one of the newest kings in the heavyweight division.

While Usyk appeared to put on an excellent performance in London, he thinks he could have done better.

“There was times when Anthony pushed me hard but nothing special,” Usyk said. “I had no objective to knock him out. My corner pushed me not to do that. You didn’t see the best Usyk. I can be much better.”

This loss was a disappointment for Joshua, who had a deal to face WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, which could have made him a lot of money. At times, Joshua did not seem sure of himself and appeared befuddled by Usyk. 

Joshua does have a rematch clause, and it should be interesting to see if he exercises it right away. However, it might be in his best interest to get a few confidence-building fights and then go after Usyk down the line. At 31, Joshua still could use some seasoning, so maybe just getting him activity against lower-ranked heavyweights could be the way to go. 

Now, we’ll see what happens with Fury-Wilder III. Maybe, the winner of that fights Usyk for supremacy in the heavyweight division. 

Photo: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing


.


.

Joshua signs career-long promotional deal with Matchroom Boxing

Unified Heavyweight Champion of the World Anthony Joshua has signed a new career-long promotional deal with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing. 
 
The IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO ruler puts his crowns on the line against former Undisputed Cruiserweight king Oleksandr Usyk at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London this Saturday September 25.
 
‘AJ’ turned professional with Matchroom Boxing in October 2013 after memorably capturing gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games in the Super-Heavyweight category and becoming an instant star in the UK. 
 
Quickly establishing himself as one of the most devastating punchers in the Heavyweight division with a series of brutal KO’s, Joshua picked up the vacant Commonwealth crown with another huge stoppage win over Gary Cornish in Greenwich. 
 
The O2 became a home fortress for Joshua and his next assignment came against old amateur foe Dillian Whyte in December 2015. The pair were involved in a heated build-up before AJ made it 15 KOs in a row against ‘The Body Snatcher’, claiming the prestigious British Title in the process. 
 
Joshua climbed the ranks until he was in a position to fight for his first World Title in April 2016 against IBF titleholder Charles Martin, who he quickly destroyed inside five minutes before making short work of American opponents Dominic Breazeale and Eric Molina in his first two title defences.
 
Joshua’s breakthrough victory came when he produced the performance of a lifetime to claim the WBA Title against modern legend Wladimir Klitschko in an unforgettable battle in front of a post war record crowd of 90,000 at Wembley Stadium in April 2017.
 
He went on to sell-out the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales twice, defending his belts against the tough Cameroonian Carlos Takam in October 2017 before unifying the division by taking Joseph Parker’s WBO belt in March 2018.
 
Joshua defended his World Titles with a devastating knockout of dangerous Russian Alexander Povetkin at Wembley Stadium in September 2018 in what was the Olympic Champion’s fourth straight stadium fight in front of over 80,000 fans. 
 
In his quest for global domination, the British sensation signed to defend his World Titles against Brooklyn’s Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller at the famous Madison Square Garden in New York on June 1 2019, but the Brooklyn native failed a series of drug tests leaving Joshua’s team searching for a replacement opponent for his big American debut.
 
Joshua’s quest to become the Undisputed Heavyweight king was temporarily halted in its tracks as late stand in opponent Andy Ruiz Jr floored him four times on route to a monumental seventh round stoppage win that shocked the world. 
 
After tasting defeat for the first time in his professional career, Joshua jumped into an immediate rematch with Ruiz Jr on neutral ground to reclaim his position at the number one Heavyweight on the planet. 

Ruiz and Joshua met again in a colossal ‘Clash on the Dunes’ in the historical town of Diriyah in Saudi Arabia, with the Watford man putting on a brilliant display of boxing to widely outpoint the Mexican to become a two-time Heavyweight World Champion.
 
Joshua returned home to take on his IBF Mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev at The SSE Arena, Wembley a year later in December 2020 after their June meeting at the home of Tottenham Hotspur was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 
 
In the first fight attended by a British crowd since the global pandemic began, Joshua dominated and then floored Pulev to score a brutal ninth-round knockout. The Bulgarian was down on three occasions, twice in the final round, before ‘AJ’ ended the fight with a vicious right hand. 
 
“We’ve built some great foundations over the years and I appreciate Matchroom – the company, the team, the family business,” said Joshua. “That’s kind of what drew me towards you guys as well, the integrity that the Hearns have when it comes to boxing and business. 
 
“I’ve felt comfortable during my years as a boxer and I always felt that the business outside of sport is harder than the actual fighting due to the history and some of the problems that some fighters have had. So, to be with Matchroom Sport has been a blessing for myself, my family and my team. 
 
“Outside of that, what Matchroom Sport have done is created an environment for boxing fans. The shows that we have managed to put on have been phenomenal. When I walk out to fight, I look around and I’m like, ‘mate, this is unbelievable’. 
 
“From where we began, to the middle of the journey, the foundations we have created are phenomenal and I can’t wait to see what the future holds. In my humble opinion, what better place to be than Matchroom Boxing? I have heard that my signature was hot property. I’m happy where I am. A handshake is good enough for me, but the signature solidifies it and I’m happy where my signature is. 
 
“Thank you to Eddie Hearn, Barry Hearn and the family, Frank Smith and all of the Matchroom staff, as well as Freddie Cunningham and the team at 258MGT.”

Okolie-Prasovic headlines Joshua-Usyk undercard

Details of the supporting cast to Anthony Joshua’s huge IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO Heavyweight World Title showdown with Oleksandr Usyk at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday September 25 have been confirmed.

The Heavyweight division’s biggest attraction puts his unified crown on the line once more against former Undisputed Cruiserweight World Champion and pound-for-pound star Usyk

WBO Cruiserweight World Champion Lawrence Okolie (16-0, 13 KOs) puts his World Title on the line for the first time against his Mandatory Challenger Dilan Prasovic (15-0, 12 KOs) following his crushing sixth round stoppage of Krzysztof Glowacki at The SSE Arena, Wembley back in March.

By winning a World Title in just his sixteenth fight, the unbeaten 28-year-old from Hackney nicknamed ‘The Sauce’ emulated fellow Brits Tony Bellew, David Haye, Enzo Maccarinelli, Johnny Nelson and Carl Thompson who all previously held world crowns in the 200lb class.

Montenegro’s Prasovic, a former WBO Cruiserweight Youth World Champion, sits at No.1 in the world with the governing body having won all fifteen of his fights since turning professional in October 2014, with twelve of those wins coming by way of knockout.

Former WBA Super-Middleweight World Champion Callum Smith (27-1, 19 KOs) makes his highly anticipated ring return up at Light-Heavyweight against the Dominican Republic’ Lenin Castillo (21-3-1, 16 KOs) after his points loss to Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez out in Texas last December.

Manchester Lightweight prospect Campbell Hatton (3-0) continues his education in the professional ranks when he takes on Spain’s Izan Dura (3-7) hot on the back of his comfortable points win over Jakub Laskowski on the first week of Matchroom Fight Camp.

‘The Albanian King’ Florian Marku (8-0-1, 6 KOs) looks to build on his impressive stoppage win over Rylan Charlton on the Avanesyan vs. Kelly undercard in February as he challenges Milan’s Maxim Prodan (19-0-1, 15 KOs) for the IBF International Welterweight Title and unbeaten Chicago Middleweight Christopher Ousley (12-0, 9 KOs) meets Russia’s Khasan Baysangurov (21-1, 11 KOs) for the WBA Intercontinental Title.

Anthony Joshua-Oleksandr Usyk set for 9/25 in London

Unified Heavyweight Champion of the World Anthony Joshua OBE will put his IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO World Titles on the line against Oleksandr Usyk at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on Saturday September 25, live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and Ireland.
 
Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs) dominated and then floored IBF Mandatory Challenger Kubrat Pulev to score a brutal ninth-round knockout at The SSE Arena, Wembley last time out in December in what was his first fight on UK soil since he stopped Alexander Povetkin in seven explosive rounds at Wembley Stadium back in September 2018. 
 
The Heavyweight division’s biggest attraction has sold-out stadiums and arenas around the world and now ‘AJ’ returns to the Capital for his fifth stadium fight looking to create more history as he faces his latest WBO Mandatory Challenger at the new state of the art home of Spurs, following in the footsteps of Frank Bruno MBE who defeated Joe Bugner in Matchroom Boxing’s first Heavyweight promotion at the old White Hart Lane in October 1987.
 
Ukrainian pound-for-pound star Usyk (18-0, 13 KOs) made the move to the Heavyweight division after dominating at Cruiserweight, ending his extraordinary spell at 200lbs as the Undisputed king with a phenomenal run of victories in his opponent’s backyard against Marco Huck, Mairis Briedis, Murat Gassiev and Tony Bellew. 
 
The 2012 Olympic Gold medallist began his assault on the Heavyweight division by retiring Chazz Witherspoon in seven rounds at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago in October 2019 and continued his bid to become a two-weight World Champion when he outpointed Derek Chisora over 12 rounds at The SSE Arena, Wembley last October. 

 “The date is set and we are fully locked in,” said Joshua. “September 25, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, I put it all on the line again and it’s time to defend my crown. We are two Olympic Gold medallists who have fought our way to the top and never avoided challenges. 

“The stadium is exceptional, the atmosphere will be electric, I’m honoured to be the first person to fight in such an awe inspiring venue. The stage is set and I am ready to handle business.”

Photo: Mark Robinson/Matchroom

 

 

Pulev: ‘We see a lot of mistakes from Anthony(Joshua)

Kubrat Pulev is supremely confident of derailing plans for the biggest fight in boxing – an all-British Undisputed Heavyweight World Title showdown between IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO ruler Anthony Joshua and undefeated WBC king Tyson Fury.

The former World Title challenger (28-1, 14 KOs) arrived in London over the weekend ahead of his second shot at world honours at The SSE Arena, Wembley this Saturday, shown live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and Ireland and on DAZN in the U.S. and more than 200 countries and territories on its just-launched Global platform.

Bulgaria’s Pulev says he can see himself exposing the flaws of Joshua in the same manner as Andy Ruiz, who famously dropped the superstar four times on route to a shock seventh round stoppage win at Madison Square Garden in June 2019.

“We see a lot of mistakes from Anthony,” said Pulev. “A lot of bad sides to him. I think these mistakes, and the bad sides, stay. The most important thing is how I perform on Saturday night. When I am good, I beat him well. Right now I feel very good, strong and powerful. I am very strong heading into this fight.

“We will see how Joshua performs. I don’t know what to expect from him. It doesn’t matter to me. For me it’s only important what I do in the ring and how I prepare. How is my strategy? How is my boxing? This is what is important. I will perform very differently because I have a lot of experience from the Klitschko fight. I will be a new Kubrat Pulev.

“This fight is not only for me. This fight isn’t just for boxing. It is for all of Bulgaria. Nobody from my country has ever been Heavyweight Champion of the World. That’s why it will be so good for my country and my people. Bulgarian fans will be really happy.

“This was my late father’s dream. That is why me and my brother are here. His project was to have sons, and for them to become boxing champions. And we are now real, this is now fact. He looks down from above and I’m sure he’s happy. He wants to win on Saturday night with me.

“I feel healthy and happy. I have a lot of energy. After the fight and after the win, I will be really happy. I think after this fight I’m going to fight with Tyson Fury. It will be good. I don’t believe that the Joshua vs. Fury fight is going to happen because I will win on Saturday night. I think the world needs a new World Champion like me. I am the new World Champion. I am coming.”

Joshua vs. Pulev tops a huge night of action in London, Hackney Cruiserweight star Lawrence Okolie (14-0, 11 KOs) takes on Poland’s undefeated Nikodem Jezewski (19-0-1, 9 KOs), Manchester Heavyweight contender Hughie Fury (24-3, 14 KOs) returns against Poland’s Mariusz Wach (36-6, 19 KOs), Martin Bakole (15-1, 12 KOs) and Sergey Kuzmin (15-1, 11 KOs) fight for the vacant WBC International Heavyweight Title, Northampton Super-Welterweight Kieron Conway (15-1-1, 3 KOs) clashes with Wythenshawe’s Macaulay McGowen (14-1-1, 3 KOs) over ten rounds, London-based Albanian Welterweight sensation Florian Marku (7-0, 5 KOs) makes his keenly anticipated Matchroom debut in an eight round contest with Derby’s Alex Fearon (9-2) and Leeds Super-Bantamweight Qais Ashfaq (8-1, 3 KOs) looks to return to winning ways against Ashley Lane (14-9-2, 1 KO)