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Joshua vs Franklin: AJ will attempt to steamroll Franklin today

Image: Joshua vs Franklin: AJ will attempt to steamroll Franklin today

By Craig Daly: Anthony Joshua’s massive career-high weight of 255 1/4 lbs today at the weigh-in strongly indicates that he plans on steamrolling #34 in the world Jermaine Franklin (21-1, 14 KOs) this Saturday night at the O2 Arena in London, England.

Joshua (24-3, 22 KOs) needs an emphatic victory to kickstart his sinking career to make a statement to set him up to where he can earn $100 million+ fighting the big three: Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder, and Joe Joyce.

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Who knows? If Joshua can run the table, spin the block, and come back around for a trilogy match against Oleksandr Usyk, filled with confidence from his successes against Fury, Wilder & Joyce.

Joshua could have problems this Saturday night if the considerably lighter 234 lb Franklin can stay away from him through the first half of the fight and drag him into deep waters where his stamina might give out as it did in his losses to Usyk.

Although Joshua has been working hard on improving his conditioning with new coach Derrick James, it might prove fruitless. AJ’s past coaches have worked hard at improving his cardio with no luck, and if they couldn’t make any notable improvements, then there’s no reason to believe that Derrick will be any different.

Joshua looking for early knockout

“It was his career highest. 255 1/4 lbs. Franklin 234.12 lbs. The highest of Joshua’s career, and a pound more than when he fought Carlos Takam when he was originally supposed to fight Kubrat Pulev,” said Gareth A. Davies to iFL TV about the weights for Joshua vs. Franklin.

“When someone is coming in that heavy, they’re looking to do a number on Franklin early. He doesn’t want this to go beyond four, five, or six rounds. That’s the jeopardy for him,” said Davies on what happens if it does go beyond six rounds.

It could be a mistake for Joshua to go looking for an early knockout because that increases the likelihood that he will gas and be an easy target for Franklin’s countershots. Franklin made Dillian Whyte look ridiculous in the ring last November.

If Joshua is going to shoot his load early, he’d better have a method to rest for a few rounds to try and get his second wind. If AJ can clinch and ride out a few rounds after he fades, he may get his second wind as he did against Wladimir Klitschko and come on late to get a stoppage.

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Franklin will take it to the later rounds

“Conversely, Jermaine has lost 24 lbs. He’ll probably be looking to take it later when he gets more opportunities to exchange and throw his hands,” said Davies. “Joshua will look to end the fight early, and Franklin will be looking to make the fight go as long as possible so he gets more opportunities to exchange.

“He’s told me he’s going to do that. He wants to stay safe, he wants to stay cautious in there, but he wants to get opportunities. He thinks they will come against Joshua, and if he does get to take it later, Joshua will fatigue,” said Davies.

It’s wise for Franklin to take the fight into the later rounds because Joshua will likely lose steam on his punches and be vulnerable to getting knocked out.

Joshua’s decision to bulk up to 255 lbs will put him at great risk of tiring out if he can’t score a fast knockout, and as we’ve seen in many of AJ’s fights, he’s useless when he gasses out.

AJ’s promoter Eddie Hearn believes that he’ll have improved his stamina from this camp and show a fighter that we haven’t seen since the early days of his career when he was running over fodder-level opposition left & right.

The problem is Franklin doesn’t fit in the same category as the type of fighter that Joshua was padding his record with in the early days.

“There’s no question about it, and that’s probably what they’re banking on,” said Davies about Franklin wanting to drag Joshua deep into the fight to tire him out. “It’s a massive opportunity for an underdog. A year ago, he was doing twelve-hour shifts at a wall factory. To support his family during Covid, doing twelve-hour shifts. Dillian Whyte was the first full camp he had.

“This is a real rags to riches Rocky story,” Gareth said about Franklin. “If he wins, it’ll go down as a legacy moment for him. He’ll go down in history.

Joshua could lose massive money

“He’ll jettison million pounds for Joshua that he could earn against Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder, and Joe Joyce. More money than that, Frank Smith was telling me,” said Gareth.

Joshua would lose so much money that it’s hard to imagine. Assuming that Joshua doesn’t immediately retire after getting beat by Franklin, he would indeed fight him in a rematch for money that would be nowhere near what he’d make fighting Fury, Wilder, or Joyce.

If Joshua loses the rematch with Franklin, it probably would be the end of his career unless he wants to turn into an Evander Holyfield and continue to fight long past his prime.

“Joshua might win the last four. You don’t know. That’s the point,” said Gareth said.  “You do not know. He could beat all three of them. You just don’t know, not past four or five. I think Joshua will do this inside seven. He may do it a lot quicker. I’ve gone between rounds four and seven. Joshua picked round ten with me the other day.

“There are risks. He’s a huge figure. He’s under massive scrutiny, and we’re all debating about him. This is #34 in the world, and he really ought to put him away.

“Joshua has come in his career heaviest. He’s got to get the fight done early. The latest by seven rounds, in my view. Otherwise, he is going to be challenged down the stretch.

“Franklin is going to try and stretch the fight out as long as he can. He’s going to be elusive and move around. Joshua will try and trap him in the corner and let his hands go. But he will use his jab early, find his range, and I think he’ll be explosive. I think he’ll get an explosive knockout.

“The optics will be there again, and we’ll all be rejoicing that Joshua is back. Will he fight Fury, will he fight Joyce, or will he fight Wilder next or Dillian Whyte?”  said Gareth.

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