Anthony Joshua (24-3, 22KO) has agreed to face American heavyweight Jermaine Franklin (21-1, 14KO) at the O2 Arena on April 1, according to the Daily Mail.
It was learnt that Franklin and Joshua have agreed financial terms for the fight and are set to sign the final bits of paperwork early this week.
Both boxers, who each suffered defeats in their last fights, will meet in London on the 91st day of the year, also known as April Fools Day.
Former two-time heavyweight world champion Joshua was looking for a top-15 contender as a comeback fight from back to back defeats yo Oleksandr Usyk, to then propel him into a rematch with Dillian Whyte in the summer. All being well, AJ planned to clock up a couple of wins before challenging the likes of Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder or a trilogy fight with Usyk.
AJ was set to face Tyson Fury in December, but negotiations between the two parties collapsed, with Fury’s team announcing their frustration at how long Joshua’s camp were taking to sign the contract.
The mega-fight was scheduled to take place at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff and TV rights were agreed too, however, it just wasn’t destiny for the pair.
More recently, Joshua was linked with a fight against unbeaten Australian fighter Demsey McKean, with McKean calling for a fight against the Englishman after he won the IBF intercontinental heavyweight belt in October 2022. Swedish southpaw, Otto Wallin, who inflicted a severe cut on Fury’s eye during their bloody brawl in 2019, was also in the running for the fight, but Franklin has emerged as the one with the golden ticket.