Arena, London - Former two-time heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua (25-3, 22 KOs) got back in the mix with a twelve round unanimous decision over Jermaine Franklin (21-2, 14 KOs). (photos by Mark Robinson)
The scores were 118-111, 117-111 and 117-111.
Joshua was coming off back to back defeats at the hands of unified world champion Oleksandr Usyk. And it was his first bout with new head trainer Derrick James.
Franklin entered the ring on the back of a controversial decision loss to Dillian Whyte.
In the first, both came out jabbing. Joshua was sticking to a very hard and steady jab for most of the round. Franklin was more geared to shooting counters over the jab. During the second, they went back to a contest of jabs. Joshua landed a few counters, but Franklin took them very well. A good right hand by Franklin seemed to bust the nose of Joshua.
During the third, Franklin was jabbing to the head and body. Joshua was engaging more, but Franklin was connecting with quicker shots. The fourth and fifth was close, with both having moments but the fight was playing out in a technical manner with each man picking their spots.
In the sixth, Joshua continued to pump out a jab and stayed tentative. Franklin was able to connect with a few solid punches coming. The seventh saw Joshua have an edge, but he was landing one punch at a time. There was a lot of holding and wrestling during the eight with neither man doing much. It was more of the same in the ninth. Joshua was winning, but it wasn't by much and the action was ugly. Franklin landed a good right hand that shook Joshua's legs.
The tenth saw Joshua start to let his hands go in the openings moment, but it quickly went back to doing a lot of holding. They began to exchange punches on the inside. Franklin was taking Joshua's best shots and standing his ground. In the eleventh, Joshua was able to connect with more hard punches, but Franklin continued to take them well and countered here and there.
In the twelfth and final round, there was plenty of holding and wrestling. Joshua landed more punches, but there wasn't much action. The two boxers nearly traded punches after the fight and had to be separated.