Anthony Joshua vs Jermaine Franklin talks have started, with the American’s promoter Dmitriy Salita hoping to receive an offer for the fight in the coming days.
The American heavyweight emerged with credit from a hard-fought points loss to Dillian Whyte in November and is one of the preferred opponents for Joshua’s next fight, which is expected to take place in London on April 1.
Promoter Salita confirmed initial talks have taken place in recent days for Franklin to fight Joshua, who is attempting to rebuild following back-to-back world title defeats to Oleksandr Usyk.
Salita is awaiting an official offer, telling Sky Sports: “Yes, Jermaine is excited about the opportunity to once again show the British boxing fans that he is the best American heavyweight in the world.
“As you saw in the Whyte fight, Jermaine is not intimidated by a big name even if it’s thousands of miles away from home.
“His mindset is to be the heavyweight champion of the world. Beat Joshua, beat Whyte in the rematch and fight the winner of Fury vs Usyk.”
Franklin, who has already returned to training as he prepares for another career-changing clash, tweeted a challenge to Joshua: “I’m ready. Time to give the fans what they want. Two great boxers who want to put the fans’ interest first, USA vs UK.”
‘A lot of risk for Joshua’
Otto Wallin has also been named on the shortlist for Joshua, but the British contender could be reluctant to face another southpaw after successive points losses to Usyk.
“I think that Otto’s fight with (Tyson) Fury and his subsequent victories after that show that he is one of the best heavyweights in the world,” said Salita.
“There is a lot of risk associated with this fight for Joshua.
“I believe the fight with [Wallin and] Whyte that was supposed to happen can happen now.
“Otto will get his opportunity in the near future. He is still improving and is a real threat. He is coming for that heavyweight world title.”
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