Anthony Joshua v Jermaine Franklin: Predictions from pros and pundits for heavyweight fight


Venue: O2 Arena, London Date: Saturday, 1 April
Coverage: Radio commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live from 22:00 BST; live text coverage on the BBC Sport website & app.

Anthony Joshua will be under pressure to deliver when he takes on Jermaine Franklin at the O2 Arena in London on Saturday.

The two-time heavyweight champion has fought in 12 consecutive world-title fights but faces Franklin with no belts on the line.

After three defeats in his past five fights, 33-year-old Joshua is keen to return to winning ways – but his American opponent is determined to cause an upset on what has traditionally been happy territory for the Briton.

Joshua has never lost at the O2 Arena, and won his first world title there in 2016.

Can Joshua get a big win or can Franklin cast further doubt over AJ’s future in the sport?

The fight will be broadcast on BBC Radio 5 Live from 22:00 BST, while the BBC Sport website will have a live text commentary page from 21:00 BST, featuring all the build-up and undercard action.

We have asked big names from the world of boxing for their opinions on the big fight.

Tyson Fury’s coach SugarHill Steward: “In Jermaine Franklin’s last fight, his biggest fight to date, he surprised everyone. He’s right there in the mix. Very, very possibly a big upset. Just a good fight, I hope. I want to be entertained. I know Franklin – he’s from my home town. I know his trainer, we go way back. I’m expecting a good fight from that side. I’m also expecting a good fight from Anthony Joshua, who is being trained and handled by Derrick James. I know what Derrick brings to the table.”

Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn: “I’d say Joshua wins by stoppage inside seven rounds. I’m going for rounds four to six. It’s been a while since we’ve seen an early AJ stoppage but I think you’ll see one.”

Unified light-middleweight champion Natasha Jonas: “AJ wins for me. I think he stops him in the middle rounds.”

5 Live analyst Richie Woodhall: “I think this is brilliant match-making. Franklin is only 6ft 2in. He’s fairly slow on his feet. I think this is the fight where Anthony Joshua can really shine. And really get in people’s thinking again about being the best heavyweight in the world.”

Olympic champion Lauren Price: “I’m going for an AJ stoppage. An explosive knockout would be good but he needs to win in style. It will be good for his confidence and in front of a home crowd.”

Former featherweight champion Kid Galahad: “AJ knocks him out inside five rounds. He’ll look sharp and devastating. I expect more focused work to the body under the stewardship of Derrick James.”

Heavyweight Frazer Clarke: “I’ve done many rounds with AJ. I’ve seen the vicious side of him. Let me tell people this, when Anthony Joshua unloads on you with combinations in them 10oz gloves, I don’t care who you are, you’re gone. Usyk never give him the chance to do it, but I think Jermaine Franklin will give him plenty of opportunities. Therefore I can’t see it going near the distance.”

Super-featherweight Jordan Flynn, who will fight on the undercard: “It’s not going to be a pushover. Franklin is a good fighter, he’s going to come to win. But Joshua will be too much for him and will win within six. I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets him out even earlier. He’s just too sharp, too big, too strong and too clever.”

WBO cruiserweight champion Lawrence Okolie: “I see it being an AJ win. I think it could be a mid-round stoppage just for accumulation of heavy shots.”

Featherweight Karriss Artingstall: “I’m predicting an AJ win. Not sure how he will do it, but he will just get the job done.”

Coach and former fighter Jamie Moore: “The first few rounds might be cagey. AJ will want to find his rhythm and settle down a bit. Let those nerves settle down. But once he finds his range, probably from round four, five or six, he’ll land the big shots and get him out of there.”

Former two-weight champion Carl Frampton: “I think AJ will stop him inside the first half of the fight. I’d love to see him stop him in the first quarter. Dominate him from the centre. Be a brute. If he has his confidence, he is a couple of levels above Franklin. He needs to go out and show that to the people.”

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