Normally stoic, a fat grin was plastered onto the face of Jermaine Franklin. After pushing Dillian Whyte to the brink during their November showdown, the 29-year-old was convinced that he successfully pocketed the biggest win of his career.

But while the American contender threw his hands up in triumph, he was incredulous as Whyte was given a somewhat controversial majority decision.

Forced to go back and lick his wounds, Franklin (21-1, 14 KOs) found his name mentioned amongst a long list of possible opponents for the return bout of Anthony Joshua. Although the former unified champion carefully sifted through a bevy of names, he opted to test his mettle against Franklin.

Joshua, of course, has witnessed his once glittering career take a turn for the worst. With back-to-back defeats saddled to his record against Oleksandr Usyk, even Eddie Hearn, his longtime promoter, is interested in seeing how his fighter will bounce back. Considering Franklin’s durability and intriguing offensive output, Hearn believes that a ton of answers will be revealed come April 1st.

“I think it’s a great fight,” said Hearn during a recent interview with Seconds Out. “He had a tremendous fight with Dillian Whyte, showed how good he is. Obviously, AJ is coming off two defeats, a lot of question marks for him. I feel like Franklin will be the guy to tell us where he’s at.”

Ultimately, the goal for Joshua remains crystal clear, dispatch of Franklin in devastating fashion and move on to bigger and better things.

In addition to craving bouts against Whyte and Deontay Wilder, Joshua (24-3, 22 KOs) is steadfast in his belief that at least one more title run is left in him. If however, Joshua comes up short against Franklin, even Hearn, a steady supporter of the former unified champion, will admit that the light at the end of Joshua’s pugilistic tunnel will be incredibly close.

“I think it’s very difficult at world level and getting to fight for the world championship again," said Hearn when asked what happens if Joshua suffers defeat against Franklin. "I see Franklin as a top 15 guy but if you're gonna fight for the world title, you need to go through people like that. That’s really the pressure. I don’t think it’s a career ender but in terms of positioning yourself for a world title, it will be difficult to come back from.”