Joshua and Franklin have to be pulled apart by corners AND security

Anthony Joshua and Jermaine Franklin have to be pulled apart by corners AND security as tempers flare in a bizarre altercation at the final bell… before the Brit admits he wishes he’d knocked him out after points victory

  • Judges handed Anthony Joshua unanimous decision win over Jermaine Franklin
  • Ensured Anthony Joshua won in the ring for the first time in over two years 
  • The two fighters engaged in pushing and shoving at the end and were separated 

Anthony Joshua and Jermaine Franklin had to be separated by their respective corners and security at the conclusion of their bout at the O2 on Saturday night.

The two heavyweights had engaged in an entertaining, if at times lacking in quality and spark, bout which Joshua won by unanimous decision after being taken the distance.

With both fighters going for a knockout blow in the final round, the referee stepped in between the two with Franklin on the ropes as the bell sounded. 

However, both Joshua and Franklin appeared to take the opportunity to engage in something of a bizarre altercation before their respective corners – and then security – were forced to intervene.

In the melee which followed the bell, it appeared as though Joshua tapped the back of Franklin’s head before the American reacted angrily. 

Anthony Joshua and Jermaine Franklin exchanged a final few blows after the bell had sounded

The Brit and the American had to be split by their respective corners – and then security

Joshua was handed a unanimous victory on points having been taken the distance by Franklin

Radio 5Live reported that Lorenzo Reynolds, Franklin’s strength and conditioning trainer, tried to involve himself afterwards as he tried to accost Joshua after the bout.

This then led to Reynolds having an altercation with Tony Bellew, working for DAZN, before the BBC’s Steve Bunce was forced to intervene before it could get ugly.

Joshua, speaking to the media after his first victory in the ring in over two years, said that he was ‘calm’, and added that he was disappointed in not being able to knockout his opponent.

‘Last time I grabbed the mic, it was a bit chaotic. I’m calm; I appreciate everyone coming out this evening,’ he said, referencing his bizarre rant having been defeated by the Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk for a second time. 

‘Inside the ring, it is a different energy so I apologise to those watching. I respect Jermaine, Eddie [Hearn], thank you for this opportunity. Fans, thank you as well,’ he added. 

‘It was important to win. Jermaine has a good duck and dive style, somebody else from Britain will probably knock him out; respect to him, he did well. 

‘I should have knocked him out but it is done. On to the next. He is here to prove himself, not roll over. I wish I could have knocked him out.’

‘I try and provide for the fans,’ he said when asked who he will fight next. ‘I know who they want. They said Tyson Fury; the ball is in his court. I would be honoured to fight for the WBC Heavyweight Championship of the World. If he’s listening, he knows my promoter; we’ve had dialogue before, so let’s continue this. We ain’t getting any younger.’

It brought to a close what had been a more encouraging night for Joshua than his last two bouts, two defeats to Usyk a year apart in September 2021 and August 2022, but pundits and supporters alike called for Joshua to offer more.

Joshua did not put in the kind of performance many had been hoping for – leading to Carl Froch to question whether he still has the motivation

Carl Froch, working for the BBC on their commentary feed, questioned whether Joshua has the motivation to become a world heavyweight champion again, querying whether money being the main factor in one stepping into the ring is enough.

‘In the ring at world title level he’s been there, done the business. And now I don’t know. What motivates him?’ he said.

‘We talked about it, he wants the money. I don’t understand why he’s fighting. I just don’t. It’s a dangerous sport. Money can’t be the motivation when you’ve earned over £100m.

‘I’ve not seen anything in that performance that he wants to be a world champion again.’

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