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Anthony Joshua seals points win over Jermaine Franklin with...
Joshua sealed an unanimous decision win over the American (Picture: Getty)
Anthony Joshua has marked his return to the ring with a confident decision victory over Jermaine Franklin back at the O2 Arena.
At the same venue where he made his professional debut 10 years ago, the Briton secured the victory he needed to revive his world title prospects, controlling the contest over 12 rounds to seal a unanimous decision win.
A relatively clean fight turned sour after the final bell with security forced to step in with both teams involved in a brief melee inside the ring and at ringside.
Coming off the back of two successive defeats to Oleksandr Usyk, defeat in London on Saturday night would have been unthinkable. Fighting in his first non-title contest since 2015, the 33-year-old has faced questions over whether his star power is on the wane with promoter Eddie Hearn describing the fight as a ‘final roll of the dice’ for the two-time world champion.
While there are greater tests ahead, victory back in the capital sets him back on course for some huge fights this summer.
Franklin, 29, was making his second appearance at the O2 in six months, having travelled to the capital to take on Dillian Whyte last November. While he suffered the first defeat of his career that night, he gave the Brixton heavyweight problems and considered himself extremely unlucky to have lost on the judges’ scorecards.
Joshua, who weighed in at his career-heaviest on Friday, was given a similar examination by the skilled and game American before finally breaking his resistance.
During fight week, Hearn teased the possibility of Joshua vs Tyson Fury once again, insisting the fight that collapsed for a second time in three years last October can be revived this summer.
A rematch against Whyte remains another compelling option, as does a long-awaited meeting with Deontay Wilder in a fight, even without world titles on the line, would promise to be one of the biggest in recent heavyweight history.
Victory in London opens those doors again for Joshua.
MORE : ‘The final roll of the dice’ – Anthony Joshua faces biggest fight of his life to prove his star hasn’t burned out for good
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