Boxing great Anthony Joshua of the United Kingdom won a non-title fight in front of a home crowd at the 02 Arena in London at the weekend against Jermaine Franklin.
Joshua won the non-title fight by scores of 118-111, 117-111, and 117-111 on the three judges’ scorecards after 12 rounds.
This was Joshua’s first victory since 2020, when he was defeated twice by Oleksandr Usyk, causing the former Olympic champion to lose and then fail to reclaim his global titles.
“It was important to win,” Joshua told reporters after the bout where another loss could have ended his career.
“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.”
Franklin, 29, had suffered his second defeat in his 23-fight career, having lost to Britain’s Dillian Whyte at Wembley in November.
Joshua, who had lost three of his previous five fights, landed his left jab repeatedly and caught Franklin with several powerful rights, but the American refused to yield and went the distance.
The 12th and final round appeared to end eight seconds early, with Joshua pushing his head into Franklin, resulting in an unusual finish.
Lorenzo Adams, Franklin’s strength and conditioning coach, was enraged by the move and pushed the London fighter.
After the final bell, the boxers and their corners clashed briefly before security intervened to calm the situation.
Soon after, Joshua raised his hand in triumph, his 25th victory in 28 professional fights, keeping alive hopes of a “Battle of Britain” clash with WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury.