It’s been quite a few months for Jermaine Franklin as the American heavyweight pushed to 18-0 before being linked to a fight with Anthony Joshua.
The Michigan fighter defeated Rydell Booker in April before several media outlets named Franklin as a possible replacement for Jarrell Miller.
Joshua’s scheduled opponent, and Franklin’s stablemate at Salita Promotions, tested positive and was thrown out of a June 1 clash at Madison Square Garden.
Promoter Eddie Hearn needed a US opponent for AJ’s stateside debut and Franklin was placed alongside Michael Hunter as the two prominent options.
Hunter then emerged as the frontrunner before Andy Ruiz beat Alexander Dimitrenko and made himself available at short notice.
The rest – as they say, is history.
Quizzed on how it felt to be in with a chance of landing an unified title shot of that caliber, Franklin was obviously flattered.
“The COO of my corporation called me and told me. I have to admit I started laughing and I didn’t believe him,” Franklin exclusively told World Boxing News.
“I was ready to take on Joshua and show the world that I could shock the world. But sadly, the call never came. I wish it did, though.”
Asked if he was surprised by the performance of both Ruiz and Joshua on the night, Franklin replied: “I told another reporter that Joshua had holes in his boxing. Andy showed the world what they were.
“Andy can fight and just because his body isn’t what the world wants with regard to image, his heart is all fighter and he proved it. I believe he will win the rematch, yes, yes, yes.”
On forging his own path in the sport, Franklin knows he just needs to keep on racking up the wins. Next up is Jerry Forrest on July 12.
“Jerry is a good fighter. He only lost twice. I’m looking to win but if the knockout happens then so be it,” he said of the ShoBox TV contest.
“So far, it’s been exciting. You work very hard and spend long hours in the gym. Now I’m fighting on TV and in the main bout. I love where my career is right now.
“Obviously, soon I want to fight for a belt. I want to show the world what I can do on a bigger stage. I’ll fight some of the higher-ranked heavyweights as you only become the best by beating the best.”
Whether newly-signed Salita heavyweight Otto Wallin was on his radar, Franklin stated: “Probably not. He is part of the Salita family. But once I’m Heavyweight champion then let’s talk about it.
“I just hope to be in the mix by the end of 2019 or early 2020. I have committed myself to being in the best shape going forward.
“I’m ready to show the world the best fighter is Jermaine Franklin Jr.”
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay