News, Culture & Society

Jermaine Franklin accuses Anthony Joshua of making excuses as he names Andy Ruiz Jr in his top five

Jermaine Franklin believes Anthony Joshua is still making excuses for his 2019 defeat to Andy Ruiz Jr, despite the Briton taking full responsibility for the loss in the immediate aftermath.

Joshua suffered his first defeat as a professional to Ruiz Jr – who stepped in for the Madison Square Garden clash after initial opponent Jarrell Miller failed a drugs test leading up to the fight – though he bounced back to claim a one-sided rematch victory later in the year. 

Now he is once again facing a career-defining match-up having fallen to back-to-back defeats against Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk, with Franklin – who suffered a controversial defeat to Dillian Whyte in November – insisting he will cause another shock on April 1. 

Joshua and Franklin came face-to-face at their announcement press conference earlier in February, with the American’s promoter, Dmitry Salita, comparing his fighter to Ruiz Jr and insisting he has ‘all the ingredients to score the upset’. 

The comment clearly hit a nerve, with Joshua referring back to it later in the presser. ‘Looking at the first Andy Ruiz fight, giving no excuses, you could see from the ring walk that something wasn’t right but I have never spoken about it,’ he said. ‘If people want to live off that then they can live off that, but watching them fights off the TV is different to stepping into the ring with me.’

Jermaine Franklin (R) feels Anthony Joshua (L) is still making excuses for losing to Andy Ruiz Jr

Joshua was stopped by Ruiz Jr (right) in their 2019 match-up at Madison Square Garden

Joshua was stopped by Ruiz Jr (right) in their 2019 match-up at Madison Square Garden

Franklin, speaking exclusively to Sportsmail following the presser, insisted that in mentioning the infamous ring walk Joshua was making an excuse for the defeat. 

‘As fighters, we’re super competitive, and a lot of competitors don’t want to admit to just taking a loss,’ he said. 

‘There’s always something wrong, or there’s always something going on. There’s always a reason for them losing. I think that’s part of the competitive nature. 

‘To me, I didn’t hear about anything going on before the loss – and I just don’t like hearing anything after.

‘I see a lot of people do it every day, and that’s what it sounded like to me. Not to take anything from him, but excuses are excuses.’ 

For Franklin, though, a defeat to Ruiz Jr is not something to shy away from. The 29-year-old named him above the likes of Joe Joyce and Dillian Whyte in his heavyweight top five – alongside Usyk, Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder and Joshua. 

Franklin also believes, despite fighting only twice since his rematch defeat to Joshua in wins over Chris Arreola and Luis Ortiz, that Ruiz Jr is still feared in the heavyweight division.

‘A lot of guys are scared of Andy, I’ll just leave it at that,’ he added. ‘He’s been around for a while and a lot of people won’t fight him.’

Franklin named Ruiz Jr in his heavyweight top five and insists he's still feared in the division

Franklin named Ruiz Jr in his heavyweight top five and insists he’s still feared in the division

Tyson Fury (left) and Oleksandr Usyk (right) are also in Franklin's heavyweight top five list

Tyson Fury (left) and Oleksandr Usyk (right) are also in Franklin’s heavyweight top five list

A win over Joshua would put Franklin into contention at the top of the heavyweight division

A win over Joshua would put Franklin into contention at the top of the heavyweight division 

Franklin, of course, wants to put himself in the conversation for the heavyweight top five, however, and he can begin that journey with victory over Joshua at the O2 Arena. 

Joshua, though, insisted he had other motivations at the press conference, stating that making money was the driver behind his comeback fight. 

Franklin, who believes he will exploit Joshua’s weaknesses in the ring, insists he will not fall for what he believes are mind games.     

‘I really didn’t believe him when he said that,’ he said. ‘He’s rich already so I don’t think he’s just doing it for the money. But, you never know what people have going on in their life. I just look at it from my point of view – I’m still passionate about it. So if he’s doing it for one thing, I’m doing it for passion and for money.

‘You can’t play mind games with me. I don’t really get intrigued by it. I honestly don’t know why he said it. Was it to get in my head? To make me think he isn’t focused? Or does he have problems with Eddie [Hearn]?’      

Franklin also believes Joshua may have turned to the wrong man in new trainer Derrick James. 

The previously settled Joshua, who was trained by Robert McCracken for his first 26 fights as a professional, once again finds himself in new surroundings after switching Loughborough for Texas and leaving Robert Garcia – whom he appointed only last year – for his new coach. 

Franklin believes Joshua's new trainer Derrick James (left) is the wrong choice of coach

Franklin believes Joshua’s new trainer Derrick James (left) is the wrong choice of coach

‘From what I know about Derrick James, his guys are generally bullies,’ Franklin said. ‘I’m really trying to see how that would help AJ. 

‘He’s a big guy, so he’s not going to be in there trying to hunt the body. The only thing I can see it benefitting AJ is helping him be more aggressive.

‘I don’t know what Derrick can do as a coach, but Errol Spence, [Jermell] Charlo, they’re very straightforward. They bring it to you, they attack the body a lot – but they’re shorter guys. 

‘When you’re 6 ft 6, you’re going to have to reach down to the body. That makes you vulnerable.’


Find local lawyers and law firms at