After suffering a disastrous loss to Tyson Fury in his long-overdue title shot, Dillian Whyte will look to end 2022 on a high note when he meets undefeated Jermaine Franklin on November 26th at Wembley Arena.
Despite his opponent’s gaudy record and his own poor performance against “The Gypsy King,” Whyte (28-3, 19 KO) figures to be a prohibitive favorite. Franklin (21-0, 14 KO) had a brief push as the Next Great American Heavyweight, but a controversial split decision over Jerry Forrest and a subsequent two-and-a-half-year layoff have thoroughly derailed his momentum. This is his make-or-break fight, and if Whyte is even close to the form that saw him smash Alexander Povetkin in their rematch, I’m expecting “break.”
“It’s great to be back, doing what I love doing,” said Whyte. ”I can’t wait to get into the ring and show the world that when push comes to shove I can get right back up in Wembley and remind everyone why I was WBC number one for over four years.
“As an undefeated heavyweight, Franklin is a dangerous guy but I’m going to teach him quite a few lessons. Most importantly, I’m going to teach him how to lose.”
“I’m super hyped to fight in the UK,” said Franklin. “They love boxing and I plan on making a statement when I beat Dillian. I want them to be loud and love my boxing style and have them embrace me as the people’s champ. The world will see the real Jermaine Franklin Jr.
“Dillian is a warrior. He has heart and he’s been with the best. It’s time for him to step aside and let the ‘989 Assassin’ make him body number 22 on my body count. The kind of fight I expect is a brawl. Dillian wants to prove he’s got something left in the tank. I want to show him I’m the future of boxing and for USA heavyweights.
“When I beat Dillian I want this victory to be followed with a title shot or a major fight to take me to the title. I’m like Holyfield. I’m a warrior. I’m from the hood. You have to take my heart and that will never happen in the ring. I have speed and power. I have no problem taking a punch to land my own. I am America’s nextheavyweight champion.”
The co-feature puts Fabio Wardley (14-0, 13 KO) against Nathan Gorman (19-1, 13 KO) for the vacant British heavyweight title, a fight first ordered in July. It’s a welcome step up in class for Wardley and a return to serious competition for Gorman, who’s been largely inactive and under the radar since a 2019 loss to Daniel Dubois.
“I’m buzzing to be fighting for the British title, I’ve had my eyes set on this belt for so long and I can’t wait to get my hands on it,” said Wardley. “Nathan Gorman’s a good fighter, but nothing is going to stop me from checking off this next milestone of my career. I thrive under the pressure of big fights like this, I live for it, there’ll be no better feeling than standing over him with my hand raised. I take my opportunities when they come, I’m not going to need any second chances like he did.
“I’ve never trained harder, I’ve never been fitter, it’s like the stars have aligned for this camp and everything is coming together perfectly. I’ve come on leaps and bounds with the new addition to my coaching team and I’m technically improving every day. That mixed with my natural athleticism and serious KO power, there’s nothing Nathan can bring to stop me.”
“It’s my second opportunity fighting for the British Title, so I’ve got to take it with both hands and this time it isn’t going anywhere other than back home with me,” said Gorman. “It’s against Fabio Wardley, and I know I’ll be facing the best Wardley that has ever entered that ring. Unfortunately for him, that will be met with the best Nathan Gorman, who is improving every second he spends in that gym.
“The thing I have that he doesn’t possess is the experience. I’ve already been in there with tougher questions that I have come through and answered, whereas I’m his acid test. It’ll be interesting if he lasts longer than rounds 5 or 6, he has a cut eye, and things aren’t going his way. He isn’t going to be able to match what I bring.”
At light heavyweight, Craig Richards (17-3-1, 10 KO) squares off against Ricards Bolotniks (19-6-1, 8 KO) for a WBA trinket. Richards is 1-2 in his last three, both losses competitive ones against Dmitry Bivol and Joshua Buatsi, while former Golden Contract winner Bolotniks followed his own loss to Buatsi with a decision over unbeaten Hrvoje Sep.
Sandi Ryan (4-1, 2 KO) will also be in action against former world title challenger Magali Rodriguez (20-6-2, 9 KO).