Heavyweight contender Jermaine Franklin believes there should be harsher penalties for fighters who fail tests for PEDs.

Many boxers who have been caught by VADA and other agencies have not been served bans because of boxing’s thick veil of politics and lack of organisational structure, and after Franklin boxed Anthony Joshua last year, havoc was wreaked on Joshua’s next fight after Dillian Whyte was pulled from their rematch because of an adverse finding and then, post-fight, Whye’s replacement Robert Helenius also failed a test.  

“There needs to be rules set on it,” said Saginaw, Michigan’s Franklin. “There needs to be a big fine, you need to be suspended for a while and if you get caught more than two or three times you need to be banned. It’s that simple. 

“People die. This is not basketball. This is not soccer. People can take steroids in those sports and just perform better but we’re fighters. We get hit in the head and if you have an advantage people can die, so I feel they really need to do something about it, not give people a slap on the wrist like it’s okay. It’s not.”

Franklin fights Devin Vargas at the Wayne State Fieldhouse in Detroit on Thursday night on DAZN, and hopes it will lead him back to the big nights he experienced against the likes of Whyte and Joshua. But, asked if there’s a PED problem in the heavyweight division, he added: “Dillian got caught, so who’s to know, I think somebody else I fought got caught before, people are still out here taking steroids. I just think boxing needs to be more stern on the rules of it. They can’t keep just letting people get away with bullshit and not putting no real consequences behind it.”

Franklin fights former prospect Devin Vargas on Thursday night, in his first bout since last July, notching his first victory since consecutive defeats to Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte. Franklin is now 22-2 (14 KOs), and he is setting his sights high.

“I want everybody, I’m not holding back,” Franklin said. “I like [Jared] Anderson. He’s a young boy doing his thing, I like him on the fighting side but I want a go at Daniel [Dubois]. I wanted to go at [Zhilei] Zhang before they fought [Joseph] Parker, but I would like a Daniel, a Zhang, a Parker, somebody that’s going to help me elevate. 

“Dubois, I think he’s a legit fighter. He might lack a little bit of heart, but I don’t think you can take that from him as a fighter. That’s like saying Amir Khan’s not a fighter because he doesn’t have a chin. 

“I’d like to go at Daniel, I’d like a rematch with Joshua. I’d like my rematch with Dillian even though I feel like I won the first one I’d fuck him up again, Daniel, Parker, all those guys. I’m really not holding any punches.”