Anthony Joshua didn’t bowl over Jermaine Franklin, but got the job done over 12 rounds and won a clear unanimous decision today in London.
Judges scored the fight 117-111, 117-111, and 118-111 for Joshua, who snaps a two-fight losing skid with the victory. Bad Left Hook unofficially scored the bout 118-110 for Joshua.
Joshua (25-3, 22 KO) was cautious for a lot of the fight, and certainly clinched a fair amount, bringing to mind some of the less intriguing nights of Wladimir Klitschko’s long reign atop the division. But he also did damage, scoring on good right hands, and he controlled the vast majority of the bout with a good jab, bringing to mind some of the more positive aspects of Wladimir Klitschko’s long reign atop the division.
Whether all of that was the plan with new trainer Derrick James remains to be seen, but it also has to be noted that if there’s a real stride for them to hit, it will probably be after another training camp or two together.
To give Franklin (21-2, 14 KO) his credit, he was not easily discouraged and he never gave up on trying to win, he just didn’t have the tools to beat this version of Joshua, who was fixated early on not making mistakes. And the clinching worked as intended, tiring Franklin on top of the damage AJ was doing with the power shots and occasional combination punching, as well as the consistent jab, meaning Franklin didn’t have enough in the tank late to make any dramatic charge.
There was also a little scuffle between the two after the final bell, which seemed largely led by Joshua.
Joshua vs Franklin highlights
Undercard results and highlights
- Fabio Wardley TKO-4 Michael Coffie: Absolutely awful stoppage. You’ll go down a result and see me not caring so much about the next stoppage, which got a little criticism, so when you get there, think back to this paragraph and consider how bad I think Howard Foster’s stoppage was here. Wardley (16-0, 15 KO) was throwing a lot, Coffie (13-4, 10 KO) was against the ropes, but if a single decent flurry can end any fight, why are we even here? Coffie wasn’t rocked, wasn’t getting hit clean with huge shots, was aware and defending himself.
- Galal Yafai TKO-4 Moises Calleros: Might have been Yafai’s most measured, skill-showcasing performance as a pro so far, as he goes to 4-0 (3 KO) with the stoppage win. Like his brothers, Galal isn’t afraid to get hit, and Calleros (36-11-1, 19 KO) landed some body shots here, but they didn’t seem to bother the 30-year-old Olympic gold medalist, and also he didn’t react big to anything Calleros did, he just kept up his plan and picked his opponent apart. The stoppage was arguably a bit early, but this type stoppage in this sort of matchup wouldn’t make my list of top 25 issues I have with boxing officiating or governing or sanctioning bodies.
- Campbell Hatton KO-1 Louis Fielding: Well this was some vintage Hatton style, just a filthy left hook to the body and that’s that. Hatton (11-0, 4 KO) is starting to look a little stronger physically, has added some muscle, and the shot was hard and well-placed. Body shots are body shots. Hatton had just fought on March 11, and now he got out here. He’s still early in his progression, whatever the ceiling is going to be. There will be a lot more fights around this level. Fielding is now 10-8 (4 KO).
- Austin Williams TKO-8 River Wilson-Bent: Williams wasn’t his very best here, missing a lot, trying too hard early for the knockout, getting himself into sort of an even-stevens fight through six — at least in terms of scoring round-by-round, though Williams was doing more damage overall. But when he started mixing his speeds a bit more in round seven and landing a few more, Williams (14-0, 10 KO) was able to predictably overwhelm Wilson-Bent (14-3-1, 6 KO). The plan coming into this show was to have Williams and Felix Cash win today, then fight in the summer. Cash pulled out of his fight late, but they could still go that way. Wilson-Bent was dropped in round seven, survived that round, and then the towel came in under more pressure in round eight.