Anthony Joshua vs. Jermaine Franklin Fight Analysis & Pick

by | Last updated Mar 27, 2023 | boxing

Anthony Joshua (24-3, 22 KOs) vs. Jermaine Franklin (21-1, 14 KOs)
When: Saturday, April 1, 2023
Where: O2 Arena, London, England
Weight Class: Heavyweights

Betting Odds: Anthony Joshua (-1200), Jermaine Franklin (+650)—Odds by Bovada

Fight Analysis:

Former Heavyweight Champion Anthony Joshua battles Jermaine Franklin in a big heavyweight bout from London on April 1. Joshua is looking to get back in the thick of things in the championship picture. And despite a rough recent run by his standards, there are still ample big-money opportunities around the corner if he’s able to get his career back on the right track. Standing in his way is Michigan fringe contender Jermain Franklin who, at 29, is looking to make his own splash in what would be a pretty massive upset. Let’s break this one down.

Much of the focus of this bout will revolve around Joshua and what he truly represents in 2023. Now 33, he’s not a kid anymore. Despite at one point being the king, he is now an inglorious 2-3 in his last five fights. The cloak of invincibility is gone. Fighters like Andy Ruiz and Usyk were able to pin upset wins on him, emboldening future opponents who aren’t as riddled with fear as foes were when Joshua was ending all his nights early. One wonders if the losses and the up-and-down nature of the last several years of Joshua’s career has maybe taken something out of him.

Still, there could be a different way of looking at it. The Ruiz loss was the most unforgivable, but he did avenge it in pretty dominant fashion. And while one shouldn’t go out of their way to sugar-coat the back-to-back decision losses to Usyk, it could be that those losses are more a byproduct of stylistic quirks, with Joshua falling prey to the ultra-technical and supremely-cerebral acumen of the now-champion. There aren’t any fighters capable of replicating what Usyk can do, making it seem more doable for Joshua to thrive against some different high-level big men.

Still, the point remains that Joshua isn’t as hard of a nut to crack as he was when he was unbeaten and rolling over solid opponents in succession. He has been hurt. He has been shown to be vulnerable. This has emboldened opponents, who are no longer frozen by fear knowing that one slip-up could result in the shutting down of their lights. Of course, they’re still leery of his punching power, but opponents are also now aware of the upside of really going for it against Joshua, who can be hit and can be hurt. A guy like Franklin, who can punch a little bit, will be more-inclined to put forth a positive performance where he’s really trying to win without being paralyzed by the notion of self-preservation.

This isn’t a bad time to maybe start looking for spots against Joshua. Former heavyweight champions can be an uncertain proposition at this stage of their careers. They’re still getting big odds in their favor with their reputations still strong, but now they’re not what they once were, taking on guys who are no longer quaking in their boots. History bears out that this is a problematic time for heavyweight champions, where upsets can be rife.

Still, we have to be realistic, and Franklin has a lot going against him. This will be in Joshua’s stomping grounds in London, where Franklin will be the pronounced B-side. That’s never easy, just out the gate. Franklin’s route here has been circuitous. An undefeated prospect with little fanfare, Franklin was meandering along, unable to get the right backing. He got another job and took some time off, before coming back and scoring a win after a long layoff. Brought in as fodder for former Joshua rival Dillian Whyte in November of last year, Franklin was surprisingly-effective, losing only a majority decision to the top contender. In addition, it showed he can fight abroad and perform well, something he’ll need to do in this bout.

Franklin is not a man without skills and tools. Against Whyte, we saw him running off some nice combinations. He had a nice clubbing left hook that appeared to rattle Whyte a few times while also flashing a strong right hand. But Whyte can be laconic, giving away rounds and languishing with a low work-rate. What we’ll be seeing on this night is a pumped-up Joshua who is now down to having zero margin for error. So any apathy Franklin may have benefitted from when fighting Whyte likely won’t be found in the ring in London this night.

Franklin will also be at a stark physical disadvantage with Joshua’s height and reach. Franklin at 6’2” with a 77-inch reach is a big and robust heavyweight, but will be giving up 4 inches in height and more than that in reach to the towering Joshua. And the former champ can use those edges. It might not have come off well against the super-slick Usyk, but Franklin is not that slippery. Joshua should be able to do damage at long range, while staying out of Franklin’s wheelhouse. Pounding left jabs, followed by blockbuster right hands, will be something Franklin has to watch, and he can’t avoid them all.

I’m not sure Joshua is really shot or that the mileage has caught up. And his three losses all have side-narratives that suggest it’s not erosion that has led to him now being a former champion. And for Franklin to thrive in this context, I’d think he needs to depend on Joshua, just not being close to the same guy he used to be. I don’t think that’s the case. Now, a -1200 quote on Joshua is hardly-appetizing. But as the fight moves closer into focus, we can get our first look at some prop bets, where a position on an early Joshua stoppage might be the ticket. I’m taking Joshua in this one.

My Prediction to Win the Fight:
I’m betting on Anthony Joshua to win at -1200 betting odds. We will also be looking to back that up with a wager on an early stoppage for the former champion. While flummoxed twice by the masterful Usyk and previously brought down by the prodigious offense of Andy Ruiz, Joshua faces a more standardized assignment on April 1, one he should emerge from without much incident.