Anthony Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, has revealed that the proposed bout between the British-Nigerian and Jermaine Franklin is still not signed, SUNDAY PUNCH reports.
Joshua is coming off consecutive losses to Oleksandr Usyk and is poised to return to the ring on April 1 at the O2 Arena in London.
According to Sky Sports, both Joshua and Franklin have agreed terms to the fight but promoter Hearn insists neither boxers have officially signed despite ongoing talks.
“The contract is not signed for that fight but he’s the guy that I think it will be. He has been for a while,” Hearn told iD Boxing.
“We’ll look to tie that up, April 1 is the date, you’ll get an AJ press conference next week.”
The 33-year-old Joshua has linked up with new trainer Derrick James in Texas following double defeat by Usyk.
He watched from ringside in November as Dillian Whyte edged past Franklin in a disputed decision win.
It has set up the pair of amateur rivals-turned professional opponents for a summer stadium rematch but Whyte who lost to Joshua in 2015 voiced his anger to SunSport at not getting Joshua next.
But Hearn responded, “I feel that Franklin gave Dillian Whyte a tremendous fight and it was a very, very competitive and close fight so I don’t see why it’s a bad fight for Anthony Joshua. Anthony Joshua has no problem fighting Dillian Whyte.
“I think it’s a stadium fight, we can do that fight next, AJ’s teamed up with a new trainer after losing two on the bounce against the pound-for-pound No1. It’s a very good fight. Competitive fight and I guess the comparisons will be let’s see how Anthony Joshua does against Jermaine Franklin versus how Dillian Whyte did versus Jermaine Franklin and then we’ll see.”