Here are the most eye-catching stories from this weekend’s boxing news and ring action:
– Anthony Joshua returned to the ring this past Saturday against Jermaine Franklin at the O2 Arena in London, looking to win his first bout since December of 2020. The former 3-belt world heavyweight champion was successful in getting the “W” and breaking his two-fight losing skid, but he hardly impressed in his unanimous decision victory (with scores of 118-111, 117-111, and 117-111).
Joshua, despite having a more than 20 lb. weight and 4-inch height advantage, fought tentatively throughout the twelve round contest. Mostly controlling the perimeter with a solid, if fairly infrequent, jab, he managed to land a small handful of big shots over the course of the bout. He never, however, launched anything resembling an all-out attack on the physically overmatched Saginaw, Michigan native. The end result was a safe, but very unsatisfying performance from the UK favorite who was working under the guidance of trainer Derrick James for the first time.
“Jermaine’s got a good duck-and-dive style,” Joshua said in his post-fight interview. “There was opportunities there. You know they were prepared for the fight. I should have knocked him out but what can I say now? It’s done. On to the next.
“I wish I could have knocked him out, 100 percent. But in the next 15 years, no one will remember that fight anyway.”
Joshua is now 25-3, with 22 KOs and has plenty of options for his next career move. Most likely, he’ll take one more tune-up bout before his team explores a big fight option. At the very least, the former champ is back in the win column.
Franklin, meanwhile, falls to 21-2, with 14 KOs. He’s 0-2 in his last two bouts, but he accounted well enough for himself in back-to-back UK fights with Dillian Whyte and Joshua that he’s earned a spot among the higher-tier fighters (and the paydays that come along with it).
– In an entertaining scrap for the vacant WBO featherweight title, Cuban 2-time Olympic gold medalist Robeisy Ramirez outpointed former world champ Isaac Dogboe by scores of 117-110, 118-109, and 119-108. The 29-year-old Ramirez, who lost his professional debut in 2019, had won eleven straight bouts coming into this opportunity.
Dogboe, who was dropped in the last round of this twelve-round contest, protested the decision aggressively in his post-fight interview.
– The 54-year-old Roy Jones Jr. stepped back into the ring this Saturday at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for his first for-real, on-the-books pro bout in over five years. Facing former UFC champ Anthony Pettis, who mas making his pro boxing debut, the legend would drop an eight-round majority decision by scores of 78-74 and 77-75, with one judge calling it a 76-76 draw.
Jones would brush off the loss and, instead, call for a rematch.
“For me, I like to come in and entertain the fans,” Jones said in his post-fight interview. “My job is to come in and make sure that the fans get what they paid for, and I’m all good with that.
“I think it was a good fight. He did a great job and fought a very smart fight. I think I educated him and taught him a lot in this fight. So I think if I fought him again it would be even better because he knows a lot more now.
“I think it would be a really good rematch.”
Pettis agreed with Jones’ idea.
“Man, he’s 54 years old, but you’ve got to give it up for this guy,” Pettis said. “He’s a legend in the sport, a GOAT [Greatest of All Time]. Praise God for allowing me to get this opportunity. Give it up for Roy Jones Jr., man…
“I would love to do it again. Let’s go. It would be an honor, bro.”