Joshua vs Franklin LIVE! Boxing result, fight stream, latest updates and reaction

Joshua vs Franklin LIVE! Boxing result, fight stream, latest updates and reaction

Joshua vs Franklin LIVE!

Anthony Joshua made his much-anticipated return at London’s O2 Arena on Saturday night. The two-time world heavyweight champion effectively put his illustrious career on the line against Jermaine Franklin at his spiritual home, desperately seeking a statement comeback victory after consecutive damaging defeats by Oleksandr Usyk and three losses in his last five contests overall.

Joshua had remarkably claimed that he would retire from boxing if he lost to the American, but ended up with a dominant points win that could yet set up a mammoth summer showdown with a certain Tyson Fury. But the durable Franklin denided Joshua the knockout that many thought he needed to put himself firmly back in title contention, before tensions spilled over in ugly scenes at the end of the fight.

British heavyweight champion Fabio Wardley stopped Michael Coffie to win the vacant WBA Continental belt in the co-main event, with Galal Yafai also easing past Moises Calleros after Campbell Hatton scored a quick stoppage of Louis Fielding and Austin ‘Ammo’ Williams forced River Wilson-Bent’s corner to throw in the towel. Follow Joshua vs Franklin live below!

Joshua vs Franklin latest news

  • Joshua dominates Franklin in wide points win on return

  • Joshua calls for Fury showdown after comeback victory

  • Wardley wins WBA Continental belt on undercard

  • Yafai, Hatton and Williams all secure impressive stoppages

Saturday 1 April 2023 23:54 , George Flood

Now Eddie Hearn’s assessment on that performance from Joshua...

Saturday 1 April 2023 23:53 , George Flood

Joshua’s reaction in full here, including an apology for events after the final bell.

Saturday 1 April 2023 23:52 , George Flood

Here are the thoughts of Joshua’s new trainer Derrick James after that first fight under his tutelage.

Plenty to work on back in Dallas...

Whyte unimpressed by Joshua display

Saturday 1 April 2023 23:51 , George Flood

Could Joshua-Whyte 3 be next?!

Dillian wasn’t impressed by his arch-rival’s performance tonight, that’s for sure.

Saturday 1 April 2023 23:44 , George Flood

Here’s Joshua on that potential Fury fight in his post-bout interview with DAZN...

Saturday 1 April 2023 23:37 , George Flood

Joshua is inevitably asked again about the fight he wants next, which he lets the crowd answer for him.

They predictably say Tyson Fury, with AJ then repeating that he wants it 100 per cent and that the ball is in Fury’s court.

Eddie Hearn then talks about Fury, the Dillian Whyte rematch and potentially Deontay Wilder in the future.

Saturday 1 April 2023 23:33 , George Flood

Joshua apologises for what transpired after the fight in his post-bout interview with DAZN.

He also says it’s a shame he couldn’t get the knockout, but says no one will remember this fight in 15 years anyway.

Around questions on his weight, he says he doesn’t really watch it while training.

Joshua earns wide points win over Franklin

Saturday 1 April 2023 23:26 , George Flood

The scores are in!

118-111, 117-111, 117-111 - all in favour of Anthony Joshua, who gets back to winning ways via unanimous decision.

He still looks furious in the ring, though. Tensions are still simmering.

Saturday 1 April 2023 23:25 , George Flood

Not really sure what happened after the final bell there.

It looked like they were locked in one final clinch and then Joshua pushed Franklin away angrily after some words were exchanged, leading to bedlam as both teams escalated the situation by piling into the ring.

Thankfully it was quickly defused.

We await the official judges’ scorecards, with Joshua surely having secured a wide points win.

But the durable Franklin has denied him the emphatic knockout he would have so craved on his return to the ring.

Joshua vs Franklin

Saturday 1 April 2023 23:23 , George Flood

Round 12

Franklin goes for it as expected, though is clearly hurt by a huge right hand with a minute left in the final round!

Franklin somehow shakes it off and gets in a solid punch of his own, with boos from the crowd as the American leads with his head and they tie up.

Franklin roars forward again with abandon, with both men letting their hands go before the final bell!

Something happened after the bell there as both fighters square off and the teams are in the ring, along with security.

Chaos at ringside too! Shades of the Joshua-Whyte fight at this same venue all those years ago.

Joshua vs Franklin

Saturday 1 April 2023 23:20 , George Flood

Into the final round now!

Joshua is on his way to a wide points win here, unless he can get a last-gasp stoppage to finally thwart the extremely durable Franklin.

The American needs a knockout in the 12th.

Joshua vs Franklin

Saturday 1 April 2023 23:18 , George Flood

Round 11

A huge body shot from Joshua early in the 11th gets the crowd on their feet!

He just misses with another massive uppercut attempt as Franklin tries to let his hands go, surely aware that he is well behind on the cards and needs a late knockout here.

That necessary approach may be just the ticket for Joshua to seal a last-gasp stoppage of his own.

Franklin is coming forward again but takes a couple more solid jabs, though manages to evade Joshua’s right hands.

Franklin sneaks a right of his own around the guard just before the bell, with a slightly late shot from Joshua leading to bitter complaints from Franklin to the referee.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Joshua vs Franklin

Saturday 1 April 2023 23:14 , George Flood

Round 10

Lovely from Joshua as he gets that right hand firing again, unleashing another shuddering uppercut on the inside.

But Franklin is unfazed and goes back to the jab, then firing off a big right hand of his own.

But there’s another massive uppercut from Joshua on the inside!

The crowd are well into this now, best action of the fight so far by a long way.

Again the durable Franklin will not go down, despite eating another huge right hand.

A lot of swelling around that right eye of Franklin now.

A great round draws to a close with a couple more stiff rights from Joshua.

Those uppercuts were brutal and would have knocked out many a heavyweight.

Joshua vs Franklin

Saturday 1 April 2023 23:11 , George Flood

Round 9

Untidy stuff again early in the ninth with more messy grappling, leading to another warning from referee Marcus McDonnell.

A little gasp from the crowd as Franklin crashes through with a nice right hand of his own.

Is Joshua tiring here? He’s stopped working well with the jab and there’s so much clinching and holding.

He’s no longer creating the necessary space to let go of some of those big shots.

However, he’s still on top firmly. Franklin needs a knockout in the last three rounds, surely.

Joshua vs Franklin

Saturday 1 April 2023 23:06 , George Flood

Round 8

Joshua with his best sustained attack of the fight so far early in the eighth - more terrific jabs and heavy right hands that find their mark.

But Franklin takes them all while barely flinching, with the referee then providing a little warning.

Apparently the American’s corner are loudly trying to insinuate that Joshua is tiring rapidly.

Franklin looks tired himself now and is trying to tie up at every opportunity, though Joshua manages a couple of sharp uppercuts on the inside.

Another round safely in the bag for AJ.

Joshua vs Franklin

Saturday 1 April 2023 23:02 , George Flood

Round 7

A bit scrappy for much of the seventh as both men begin to feel the pace of this contest - a lot of hugging.

Franklin is having more success off the jab, but takes another spiteful right hand with 20 seconds left in the round.

Much to trainer Derrick James’ delight, Joshua then produces a tidy hook to the body on the inside.

How many rounds are we giving Franklin here so far? One, two at a push?

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Joshua vs Franklin

Saturday 1 April 2023 22:59 , George Flood

Into the second half of the fight we go!

Joshua must be well ahead on the cards, but needs to be careful still.

Can he get the emphatic stoppage he so craves on his comeback?

Or with the extra weight, will we start to see the usual questions about him potentially gassing out late on?

Joshua vs Franklin

Saturday 1 April 2023 22:58 , George Flood

Round 6

Joshua lifts the crowd with a brilliant combination in the sixth including a huge uppercut that buzzes Franklin.

AJ is really in control now, setting up some mean attacks with that stiff left lead jab.

But the determined Franklin is a real wildcard and far from beaten yet, fizzing forward on the counter when he can, albeit with limited success.

He ends the round with an attempted flurry after Joshua sneaks in another solid right hand.

Joshua vs Franklin

Saturday 1 April 2023 22:54 , George Flood

Round 5

A good right hand, left hook and inside uppercut from Joshua to start round five, followed by more great left jabs.

The nose is still bloodied, but signs that he’s starting to follow up on the jab - he wants to land the massive overhand right but it’s just missing the target at the moment.

A big right hand is taken well by Franklin, who ties up. He’s never been stopped and is very durable.

Joshua lands another right upstairs and left hand to the body with 20 seconds left in the round, but to his credit Franklin comes firing back.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Joshua vs Franklin

Saturday 1 April 2023 22:50 , George Flood

Round 4

This is engrossing stuff as both men look to take the initiative in the fourth.

Franklin eats more solid jabs upstairs, though on that occasion he comes firing back with a decent right hand.

Joshua is not fighting at all like I thought he would considering the significant weight jump - how much of that is due to Franklin going so much lighter?

More decent, hard left jabs from AJ find their target, with Franklin launching into an attack before the bell, taking some big swings and forcing Joshua to tie up.

Joshua vs Franklin

Saturday 1 April 2023 22:46 , George Flood

Round 3

A lot of confidence in the Franklin corner after the second - they think they have Joshua rattled.

But the Briton is clearly on top here, having far more success with the right hand.

Franklin digs in a decent hook before we’re back to those solid left jabs from both men.

Joshua has stepped off the gas a little as Franklin comes onto him late in the third, lunging forward and rattling in some fast counters.

Joshua bangs in a well-timed left hook and right hand just before the bell.

3-0 to AJ? I think Franklin may have done enough to take that for 2-1 through three.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Joshua vs Franklin

Saturday 1 April 2023 22:42 , George Flood

Round 2

Joshua looks lighter on his feet at the start of the second after trainer Derrick James tells him to get that right hand going, which he does early.

Both men exchange plenty of stiff left jabs, with Joshua finding his mark with another right hand and tough left hook.

He misses a left uppercut, Franklin misses in return before managing a decent combination of his own.

Joshua wants to land the overhand right, evades another telegraphed Franklin attack and then dishes out some heavy punishment to the body.

Decent movement and anticipation from AJ in this round, but he’s got blood coming out of the nose.

Joshua vs Franklin

Saturday 1 April 2023 22:38 , George Flood

Round 1

A tentative start from Joshua as his name rings out around the arena.

He’s trying to work behind the lead left jab early on, though is wary of some fast counters from Franklin - who has quick hands, highlighted by Dillian Whyte earlier on.

The duo exchange solid jabs and Joshua rattles in a decent combination that finishes with a stiff right hand.

Joshua goes to the body, then trying to land some straight shots upstairs but his movement and footwork is rather slow and cumbersome.

Not all guns blazing by any means, but probably saw enough from him to shade that rather quiet opener.

Joshua vs Franklin

Saturday 1 April 2023 22:35 , George Flood

HERE WE GO!

Anthony Joshua makes his return against Jermaine Franklin right now.

Can he make an emphatic statement?

Saturday 1 April 2023 22:33 , George Flood

Joshua looks huge in there as he’s cheered to the rafters during the pre-fight introductions.

He’s got white shorts trimmed with red, with his name adorning the front.

Saturday 1 April 2023 22:33 , George Flood

The continued boos aren’t phasing Franklin, who gestures to the partisan crowd to increase the volume.

Saturday 1 April 2023 22:30 , George Flood

Joshua looks all business as he is accompanied to the ring by a live performance.

Great noise from the 19,000 fans in attendance.

Saturday 1 April 2023 22:26 , George Flood

Here comes Franklin!

He still looks so relaxed on the biggest night of his life as he saunters to the ring to the sound of NoLov3 by Wolves ft PO_G - how much will the experience of the Dillian Whyte fight at Wembley Arena in November have prepared him for this?

A low-key ring walk in his sleeveless black robe.

Huge cheers as Joshua is seen making the long walk from his dressing room to the main arena.

He’s cloaked in a white hooded robe, sporting classic red Everlast gloves.

Saturday 1 April 2023 22:23 , George Flood

David Diamante is on the mic and it’s time for the main event ring walks at long last!

Heavy boos greet the announcement of Jermaine Franklin.

Saturday 1 April 2023 22:21 , George Flood

‘Sweet Caroline’ starts belting out around the O2 Arena - scene of some of Anthony Joshua’s finest career nights.

It’s his first there since 2016, when he stopped another American heavyweight in Dominic Breazeale.

It’s where he won his first world title against Charles Martin earlier that year, scene of his wild grudge match with Dillian Whyte and of course his pro debut against Emanuele Leo a decade ago.

Joshua dreaming of more big fights

Saturday 1 April 2023 22:06 , George Flood

Is a confident win tonight enough for Joshua to once again chase a mammoth and lucrative all-British showdown with reigning WBC heavyweight king Tyson Fury over the summer?

Joshua and Eddie Hearn certainly both seem to think so - Joshua even claimed this week that Fury “needs him” after frustratingly seeing protracted talks over an undisputed clash with Oleksandr Usyk break down due to an apparent row over the rematch split.

A Dillian Whyte rematch would also be huge, while the fight many still want to see - including me - is against Deontay Wilder.

"It's big, it's massive. It's a big fight for me, for sure," Joshua added.

"I respect my opponent fully and respect everything he's been through and we're here to rock and roll.

"I respect my supporters as well so I have put in the work, I respect my coach so I want to make sure I get the job done in good finish.

"I like the fact (Eddie Hearn) always dangle carrots in front of me, telling me if I do this, this is here and that's there always leading onto big things.

"I dream big and I want bigger and better things in my life. As I stated in the last press conference, I want to secure the bag and move on in my life."

Joshua: It is win by any means necessary

Saturday 1 April 2023 22:01 , George Flood

Most think that Anthony Joshua needs an emphatic knockout tonight to restore his reputation as one of the planet’s premier heayweights after two straight losses and three defeats in his last five outings.

Jumping to a career-heaviest weight suggests that he is out to do some serious early damage, with AJ admitting that he has a big finish on his mind after hailing the work of latest trainer Derrick James, who works with the likes of Errol Spence Jr and Jermell Charlo among other top champions out in Dallas.

"It is win by any means necessary. We are just here to do a job,” Joshua said.

"I respect my opponent and may the best man win. One thing he said is he started eating right for this camp, well he's dealing with someone who has been living right from the get go.

"I have been putting in work from the day I started this business. It's going to be a good fight because he's up against a real one, for sure.

"The goal is not to make it back to the corner, the goal is to take him out.”

Joshua vs Franklin next

Saturday 1 April 2023 21:48 , George Flood

That’s the full undercard all done and dusted!

Don’t go anywhere, folks - Anthony Joshua’s big return against Jermaine Franklin is NEXT at London’s O2 Arena.

Saturday 1 April 2023 21:47 , George Flood

Fascinated to see where they go next with Wardley.

A big domestic showdown with Frazer Clarke has been mooted, though Hearn also mentions David Adeleye and Sol Dacres.

All great fights.

Saturday 1 April 2023 21:41 , George Flood

A lot of criticism of referee Howard Foster there - many including Tony Bellew and Dillian Whyte at ringside suggest that stoppage was just too early.

Coffie was raging at the decision, it must be said.

But the stoppage was coming from Wardley regardless, it would only have taken a few more seconds.

Wardley stops Coffie early in fifth

Saturday 1 April 2023 21:36 , George Flood

Ferocious from Wardley!

He backs Coffie against the ropes again and thunders down more punishing right hands.

Coffie desperately tries to cover up but it’s a torrid flurry that causes the referee to step in and wave off the fight early in the fifth.

The American is furious - he feels he was fine to continue!

Wardley vs Coffie

Saturday 1 April 2023 21:34 , George Flood

Wardley chases Coffie to the ropes, crunching in some shuddering body shots.

But the American lands one of his own that may well have hurt the British champion, who is caught in the corner for a brief worrying moment.

Wardley throws out an enormous right hand that just misses the target, before again backing Coffie against the ropes and looking to let his right hand go as his opponent turns the shoulder to limit the damage.

Wardley goes back to jabbing well with the left, but is struggling to find a home for the follow-up right.

Coffie is also trying to establish his own sharp left jab towards the end of the third.

Wardley vs Coffie

Saturday 1 April 2023 21:30 , George Flood

After getting tagged hard so early, Coffie is very cautious indeed as Wardley continues to throw out that left jab, doubling up on it in the second and trying to set up the bigger punches - including the massive overhand right.

One or two warning flashes of the right from Coffie that don’t find the mark.

Not too much action as Coffie tries to stay away from danger, but Wardley finishes the round well with some swinging shots upstairs.

Wardley vs Coffie

Saturday 1 April 2023 21:27 , George Flood

A superb start from the confident Wardley, who rocks Coffie early with a big shot upstairs and forces the American to back away.

This is measured, impressive stuff from the British champion, who now works with Tyson Fury’s former trainer Ben Davison.

He isn’t getting ahead of himself, patiently setting up his attacks nicely with the left jab.

Coffie is yet to land much, though he does clearly have some power in that right.

Wardley vs Coffie

Saturday 1 April 2023 21:23 , George Flood

Here we go!

The co-main event of the night is underway...

Wardley vs Coffie

Saturday 1 April 2023 21:21 , George Flood

The Ipswich Town crest adorns Fabio Wardley’s velvet blue gown as he makes his way confidently to the ring - what a win they had over Derby earlier in the League One promotion race.

The pride of Suffolk has racked up 15 consecutive wins - 14 by knockout - since his pro debut in 2018, winning the British heavyweight title with an early stoppage of Nathan Gorman on the Whyte-Franklin undercard in November.

He also stopped both Chris Healey and Daniel Martz in 2022.

Wardley vs Coffie

Saturday 1 April 2023 21:18 , George Flood

Here comes Michael Coffie!

The big American is 13-3 with 10 knockouts, but all of those defeats have come in his last four bouts - two by Jonathan Rice and one against Armenian Gurgen Hovhannisyan.

His last win came against Colombian Fulgencio Zuniga last summer.

Coffie is a native of Brooklyn, New York but fights out of Orlando, Florida.

Saturday 1 April 2023 21:11 , George Flood

“If I get the opportunity, I’m going to put him down.”

Jermaine Franklin looks incredibly relaxed as he has his hands wrapped in the dressing room backstage at the O2 Arena.

Says he hopes his weight loss - he has dropped 24lbs since that contentious loss to Dillian Whyte at Wembley Arena in November - will make him faster and lighter on his feet.

Can the massive underdog pull off a major shock to potentially end Joshua’s career?!

Saturday 1 April 2023 21:08 , George Flood

Hearn also says that he thinks Conor Benn’s next fight will be confirmed next week.

Says they still want Chris Eubank Jr, but drops several other potential names including Kell Brook.

Saturday 1 April 2023 21:03 , George Flood

So Wood-Lara 2 lands on the same night as Chris Billam-Smith headlines a huge BOXXER card against an as yet unnamed opponent at the Vitality Stadium in Bournemouth.

That’s also the same night as Michael Conlan challenges Luis Alberto Lopez for the IBF featherweight title in Belfast.

Wood vs Lara 2 confirmed

Saturday 1 April 2023 21:00 , George Flood

A big announcement from Eddie Hearn and DAZN before the co-main event.

Mauricio Lara and Leigh Wood are in the ring as it’s confirmed that they will rematch their gripping WBA world featherweight title clash on May 27 at the AO Arena in Manchester.

“I made a mistake and I just want to put it right”, says Wood, who boxed wonderfully against Lara in the first fight on home soil in Nottingham in February before a crucial error led to him being knocked out by a bruising left hook in the seventh round.

The winner will face Josh Warrington, says Hearn. New Matchroom signing Jack Catterall will be the co-main event.

Wardley vs Coffie next

Saturday 1 April 2023 20:55 , George Flood

We’ve motored through this undercard at the O2 Arena, where it’s heavyweight action all the way from here.

It’s almost time for the chief support act of the night, with unbeaten 15-0 British champion Fabio Wardley taking on 13-3 American Michael Coffie for the vacant WBA Continental strap.

Wardley is of course managed by Anthony Joshua’s arch-nemesis Dillian Whyte, who is at ringside and talking up a rematch with AJ on DAZN.

Saturday 1 April 2023 20:50 , George Flood

Hearn is also talking about Yafai at super-fly, where you’ll find the likes of Juan Estrada and Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez, plus Joshua Franco, Fernando Martinez and more.

Some major fights in his future. Can’t wait!

Saturday 1 April 2023 20:48 , George Flood

Eddie Hearn is effusive in his praise of Yafai, insisting he is good enough for a world title shot before the end of the year.

IBF flyweight champion Sunny Edwards has just signed for Matchroom - could we see that fight sooner rather than later?

Julio Cesar Martinez and Artem Dalakian are the other current champions at 112lbs, with Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez vs Cristian Gonzalez up in San Antonio next week for the WBO belt vacated by Junto Nakatani in October.

Yafai stops Calleros in round four

Saturday 1 April 2023 20:40 , George Flood

Calleros is down early in the fourth!

A brilliant and furious assault from the Olympic gold medalist, who crunches in some vicious hooks, uppercuts and straight shots to put his weary opponent on the canvas.

Calleros initially beats the count, but he’s looking over at his corner and the referee isn’t satisfied with his response, calling off the bout.

Spectacular from Yafai, who has such a big future.

Yafai vs Calleros

Saturday 1 April 2023 20:38 , George Flood

Calleros is growing in confidence as he continues to go to the body, though he takes a low shot and then gets caught with a buzzing left hand midway through the third.

Yafai is firmly back on top, throwing some accurate and well-timed punches to slow the Mexican and sap his energy.

But he’s still too willing to just stand and trade at times.

“You’re picking him apart well but don’t rush it,” is the message from trainer Rob McCracken in the corner.

Yafai vs Calleros

Saturday 1 April 2023 20:34 , George Flood

Yafai is having a lot of success with that dangerous left hand and is also throwing some accomplished short right hooks early on here.

Not quite as impressive in the second as Calleros, who is no pushover, tries to come onto the front foot and take some initiative, asking questions of the Briton.

There are a number of engaging close-range exchanges initiated by the Mexican, who is trying to work the body where possible.

Yafai vs Calleros

Saturday 1 April 2023 20:29 , George Flood

An accomplished start by Yafai, who is snapping back the head of Calleros with his sharp and accurate left hand.

His footwork is lovely and he’s very aggressive on the front foot, landing nicely from close range and getting those combinations going.

Calleros answers back with a couple of crisp counters, but that’s round one firmly in the bag for the Olympic champion.

Yafai vs Calleros

Saturday 1 April 2023 20:25 , George Flood

Yafai is a perfect 3-0 as a professional, stopping Carlos Vado Bautista and Miguel Cartagena before a tougher decision win over Gohan Rodriguez Garcia on the Dmitry Bivol-Zurdo Ramirez undercard in Abu Dhabi in November.

Experienced Mexican Calleros, 33, is 36-10-1 with 19 knockouts, having recovered from a defeat by Julio Cesar Martinez in 2020 with back-to-back wins over Mauricio Fuentes and Jose Alejandro Burgos.

Yafai vs Calleros

Saturday 1 April 2023 20:22 , George Flood

Next on the main bill is 2020 Olympic flyweight gold medalist Galal Yafai!

He was added to this card late after Felix Cash’s withdrawal, having initially been due to face Mexican Moises Calleros on the “Bam” Rodriguez vs Cristian Gonzalez bill in San Antonio next week.

Saturday 1 April 2023 20:19 , George Flood

Or maybe not!

Hatton says he is not bothered by not getting more rounds in.

Eddie Hearn is clearly very pleased with that and says Hatton can have a slightly longer break this time before getting back out there in the summer.

He says there’s still a long way to go, but things are very much trending in the right direction for Hatton after a somewhat ropey start to his professional carrer.

Saturday 1 April 2023 20:12 , George Flood

Just devastating from Hatton - Ricky will be very proud.

Crushing body shots obviously run in the family.

He might have wanted more rounds under the belt, but you can’t argue with that sort of explosive stoppage.

11-0.

Hatton stops Fielding in first round

Saturday 1 April 2023 20:10 , George Flood

WOW!

No messing around from Hatton, who crunches in a shuddering left hook behind the elbow after just one minute and 29 seconds.

Fielding takes it but immediately grimaces and sinks to his knees.

The referee reaches the 10 count and it’s all over already!

Where have we seen that punch before?! Talk about a chip off the old block...

Hatton vs Fielding

Saturday 1 April 2023 20:08 , George Flood

The usual ‘Blue Moon’ and Oasis mash-up heralds the arrival of Hatton, who is wearing red, black and yellow shorts in the colours of Manchester City’s away kit tonight - he will have revelled in that 4-1 thrashing of Liverpool earlier.

Here we go, a fast start from Hatton, who is setting up some sprightly early attacks off the jab.

Fielding already in danger.

Saturday 1 April 2023 20:02 , George Flood

Campbell Hatton takes the next steps on his professional journey next, stepping up into his first super-lightweight eight-rounder against the 10-7 Louis ‘Flash’ Fielding from Tamworth.

But first it’s a poignant ten-bell salute in memory of Ken Buchanan, Scotland’s former undisputed lightweight world champion who has sadly died aged 77 after a battle with dementia.

“It’s with great sadness that we have to inform you that Ken Buchanan passed away peacefully in his sleep this morning,” read a statement from his family earlier on Saturday.

“Further announcements will come and please give the family some time to process this sad news. RIP Ken, always a gentleman and one of the best champions we will ever see.”

Williams stops Wilson-Bent

Saturday 1 April 2023 19:58 , George Flood

Not the perfect performance from Williams by any means, he took a while to figure out Wilson-Bent but eventually showed his furious power to force the stoppage.

He stays undefeated and moves to 14-0 with his third professional victory on UK soil.

Still really want to see Ammo against Felix Cash.

A really spirited showing from Wilson-Bent, who was the clear aggressor early on and really took the fight to Williams initially with no fear.

He drops to 14-3-1.

Williams vs Wilson-Bent

Saturday 1 April 2023 19:53 , George Flood

The towel does come in from Wilson-Bent’s corner in the eighth!

Williams had launched sustained attack after sustained attack, raining down significant blows with both hands against a retreating opponent with little coming back.

Wilson-Bent was clearly hurt again and backed away to the ropes, which was the decisive factor for his trainer in the end.

That looked the right decision.

Williams vs Wilson-Bent

Saturday 1 April 2023 19:51 , George Flood

“If you start to feel sorry for yourself, I’ll throw in the towel.”

Wilson-Bent receives that warning from his corner before the start of the eighth.

Can he mount a comeback or is this just a matter of time now until the stoppage?

Williams is suddenly looking so much more confident, closing the distance far more effectively and finding his range with some huge shots.

Williams vs Wilson-Bent

Saturday 1 April 2023 19:50 , George Flood

Wilson-Bent is clinging on, tries to fight fire with fire but he’s looking exhausted now after that knockdown.

Williams smashes home another punishing left towards the bell followed by a sharp right.

Wilson-Bent had also been down again just before, but it wasn’t caused by a punch.

Williams in full control now after a frustrating start.

Williams vs Wilson-Bent

Saturday 1 April 2023 19:47 , George Flood

Wilson-Bent is down with more than two minutes left in the seventh!

Williams uncorks a brutal left hand that knocks Wilson-Bent off his feet.

He takes a nine count and then tactically spits out his mouthguard to give himself a few more precious seconds to recover.

But Williams senses the finish now and is coming on strong, landing another huge left!

Can Wilson-Bent make it to the bell?

Williams vs Wilson-Bent

Saturday 1 April 2023 19:46 , George Flood

Better from Williams initially in the sixth, finding his range with the vicious left better and a straight right - but it’s still mostly single shots with no real sustained follow-up.

Despite that cut above the right eye that continues to stream with blood, Wilson-Bent fires back, setting up a beauty of a right hand straight down the pipe - set up perfectly by the left jab before the bell.

Williams vs Wilson-Bent

Saturday 1 April 2023 19:43 , George Flood

Williams has certainly shown flashes of his talent here, but it’s all single shots with very few of those powerful combinations that he normally pieces together so well.

Despite being the clear underdog, Wilson-Bent has largely controlled the tempo of this fight through five, staying aggressive and coming forward, jabbing nicely.

But that cut has opened again and has been pouring blood, which must be obscuring the vision in his right eye.

Hopefully it doesn’t bring a premature end to his impressive performance and the corner can keep it managed between rounds.

Williams vs Wilson-Bent

Saturday 1 April 2023 19:39 , George Flood

Yeah, it was an unfortunate and accidental clash of heads that caused that cut to Wilson-Bent.

Referee Howard Foster will be keeping a close eye on it.

Into the fifth we go in this scheduled 10-rounder in the middleweight division.

A cracking effort from Wilson-Bent thus far. He’s jabbing so well and landing some great punches on the inside.

A frustrated Williams is yet to properly settle, though he’s fired out plenty of warnings with that left.

Williams vs Wilson-Bent

Saturday 1 April 2023 19:38 , George Flood

Some blood around that right eye and nose of Wilson-Bent shows the damage that Williams can inflict, even when it seems that he isn’t landing much cleanly.

Or was there a clash of heads? It’s an awkward cut.

The fourth round gets lively towards the end, with Williams finding his mark with the ruthless left but the assured Wilson-Bent reacting quickly.

Williams vs Wilson-Bent

Saturday 1 April 2023 19:34 , George Flood

The combative and confident Wilson-Bent is really trying to push the pace here, lunging forward frequently and letting his hands go.

He lands another right and good short shot but there’s a couple of times there that he got tagged back with Ammo’s spiteful left, which he needs to be very wary of.

Williams looks a bit surprised by his opponent’s non-stop aggression through the early stages of this bout.

He needs to up the tempo and work rate significantly.

Wilson-Bent not intimidated by the undefeated American in the slightest. He evidently really feels he can win this.

Williams vs Wilson-Bent

Saturday 1 April 2023 19:31 , George Flood

“You’ve seen his speed, you’ve felt his power - he’s not all that, is he?”

That’s the message from Wilson-Bent’s corner at the end of the second.

He’s taken a few stinging shots from Ammo so far, but otherwise the Coventry man has been surprisingly aggressive and on the front foot - targeting the body.

He’s also warned about the timing of throwing that backhand.

Williams vs Wilson-Bent

Saturday 1 April 2023 19:28 , George Flood

A bit overly eager from Williams early doors in the first, but you can already see his talent for varied attacks and combination punching.

Wilson-Bent is eager to come forward but needs to be careful.

Williams vs Wilson-Bent

Saturday 1 April 2023 19:21 , George Flood

Houston’s Milwaukee-born southpaw Williams is unbeaten at 13-0, having outpointed both Simon Madsen and Kieron Conway last year as well as stopping Chordale Booker and Javier Maciel early.

Can he continue to impress on his third trip to the UK?

Coventry’s Wilson-Bent is 14-2-1, with losses to Hamzah Sheeraz and Tyler Denny on his record from last year.

He bounced back by outpointing Darryl Sharp in front of a hometown crowd last month.

Saturday 1 April 2023 19:16 , George Flood

Austin Williams had been hoping to fight Felix Cash last month in a WBA middleweight semi-final title eliminator in Liverpool.

However, Cash instead chose to pursue the European title, before having to pull out of his scheduled challenge against Matteo Signani tonight due to illness.

Hopefully we still get to see Ammo-Cash at some point after the two clashed following the latter’s win over Celso Neves on the Josh Warrington-Luis Alberto Lopez undercard in Leeds in December.

Saturday 1 April 2023 19:04 , George Flood

And that does it for the early portion of tonight’s undercard at the O2 Arena.

The main bill starts shortly, kicking off with highly-rated unbeaten American middleweight Austin ‘Ammo’ Williams.

He takes on Englishman River Wilson-Bent.

Hedges scores dominant win over Bocianski

Saturday 1 April 2023 18:59 , George Flood

80-72 in Hedges’ favour in his first eight-round contest.

He may feel that he should have got the stoppage there, but it’s a resounding victory nonetheless to move him to 8-0.

Very much one to watch.

Hedges vs Bocianski

Saturday 1 April 2023 18:56 , George Flood

Bocianski sees the final bell, despite absorbing more heavy punishment in the final round.

Really impressed by Hedges’ variety - his uppercuts and straight shots are gorgeous, and he fires that long right hand seemingly out of nowhere at times.

An accomplished display full of confidence and variety from ‘The Gentleman’.

This will be a very wide score.

Hedges vs Bocianski

Saturday 1 April 2023 18:52 , George Flood

Hedges is trying to walk a tired and listless Bocianski onto him and set traps at all times.

He thunders in another brutal uppercut that lands flush, with more powerful straight hands to follow as well as further bruising body shots.

Hedges has won every round comfortably here.

We’re through seven, can he step it up and try to get a demoralised and well-beaten opponent out of there in the eighth and final round?

Hedges vs Bocianski

Saturday 1 April 2023 18:49 , George Flood

Hedges is brimming with confidence, attacking the body at will and crashing in one of those long, looping left uppercuts. His combination punching is excellent.

The young man is thoroughly enjoying himself out there, sauntering around the ring, picking his punches and planning those varied attacks so well.

Bocianski’s face is clearly swollen - it’s been a punishing night so far for the Polish fighter.

There is not much he can throw at any distance without being tagged by a sharp counter.

Hedges vs Bocianski

Saturday 1 April 2023 18:44 , George Flood

Superb power, anticipation and variety on display from Hedges in the fifth, piecing together some damaging combinations to body and head. That straight left is a beauty.

He’s really going through the gears nicely here. The movement and conditioning looks great in the first eight-rounder of his young career.

Bocianski is gritty but looks to have nothing whatsoever to challenge the 6ft 6in Takeley native.

Hedges vs Bocianski

Saturday 1 April 2023 18:38 , George Flood

Hedges - who is only 20 - is nimble on his feet for such a big man and makes Bocianski miss badly with a huge swing over the ropes early in the fourth.

He follows it up with a bruising hook to the body and then catches the Pole with one of those fearsome straight shots upstairs.

Bocianski certainly felt that and looks unsteady on his feet as he eats a couple more, but a warning from the referee allows him some time to recover.

Hedges looking really good now at the halfway stage of this eight-rounder.

Hedges vs Bocianski

Saturday 1 April 2023 18:35 , George Flood

Hedges’ sheer size, reach and length make him such an interesting fighter to watch.

He’s got a lovely left jab and lands it well, doubling up in the third as he tries to step up the tempo and become a bit more aggressive on the front foot.

Bocianski has had a few moments of promise here and there, but Hedges is well on top.

Hedges vs Bocianski

Saturday 1 April 2023 18:28 , George Flood

A good opener from Hedges, who jabs very well and then crashes in those straight shots to the head.

His long, looping arms mean he can fire some real bombs from range, including a few vicious hooks to the body.

Trainer Mark Tibbs bellowing advice from the corner.

Hedges vs Bocianski

Saturday 1 April 2023 18:24 , George Flood

The early undercard at the O2 Arena finishes with an eight-rounder in the light-heavyweight division.

Towering unbeaten Essex southpaw John Hedges, 7-0, takes on 11-2 Polish opponent Daniel Bocianski.

Almaayouf outpoints Velichkov

Saturday 1 April 2023 18:22 , George Flood

Not the best performance from Almaayouf by any means, but he has his hand raised nevertheless after referee Howard Foster scores the four-rounder 39-37 in the Saudi’s favour.

He’s still unbeaten at 3-0 and will have learned a fair bit from that new challenge against a southpaw.

To his credit, Velichkov gave that a good go in the fourth and we might have been looking at another upset had he upped the tempo a little earlier.

Almaayouf vs Velichkov

Saturday 1 April 2023 18:17 , George Flood

Into the final round of four in this super-lightweight bout.

This has all been a bit underwhelming from Almaayouf, who looks uncertain as to how to effectively tackle a tricky southpaw.

When he lets the punches fly in bunches he looks very impressive as he’s got such quick hands and nice variety on the inside.

His jab is a real weapon, but he isn’t following up on it effectively and is really struggling to land with the right, which is telegraphed and often fired from too far away.

He’s still winning this, but his untidy and slow footwork means he has stood still and been drilled far too often by that looping left hand of Velichkov.

Almaayouf vs Velichkov

Saturday 1 April 2023 18:11 , George Flood

Almaayouf’s hands are a blur but his footwork isn’t brilliant - it means he can unload at pace but often gets caught on the way out.

Velichkov is limited but has a good left hand that has landed a number of times in this second round.

Not a great second from Almaayouf, who seems a bit tenative and only has limited success with those fast attacks.

Trainer Buddy McGirt lets him know his feelings as soon as he gets back to his corner.

Almaayouf vs Velichkov

Saturday 1 April 2023 18:06 , George Flood

The early undercard action continues to come thick and fast as plenty of fans file into the O2 Arena.

Next up is the third professional outing of Saudi Arabian super-lightweight talent Ziyad Almaayouf, who will look to stay undefeated in a four-round meeting with 3-11 Bulgarian Georgi Velichkov.

Almaayouf outpointed Ronnald Martinez on the Jake Paul-Tommy Fury undercard only last month, having also fought on the Joshua-Usyk 2 bill in Jeddah last summer, knocking out Alfredo Alatorre.

And it’s a good, positive start from ‘Zizo’, who works well behind the jab and shows his speed and variety from the off.

Flynn defeats Baker after lightweight war

Saturday 1 April 2023 17:57 , George Flood

Another captivating final round with both fighters going hell for leather.

Neither left anything whatsoever in the tank during the course of a truly gruelling eight-round lightweight war.

As expected, Flynn comes out on top, 77-75 to stay unbeaten and move to 9-0 as a pro.

But that was undoubtedly the biggest win and toughest test of his career to date.

Credit to Baker, who is as game and durable as they come.

Flynn vs Baker

Saturday 1 April 2023 17:51 , George Flood

Flynn has been made to work awfully, awfully hard for this, but he’s surely on top heading into the eighth and final round.

This has been such a steep learning curve for him.

Can Baker step up again late to take his undefeated record?

The Birmingham native was hurt by an accidental clash of heads in another slobberknocker of a round in the seventh.

Fight of the night in the bag already!

Flynn vs Baker

Saturday 1 April 2023 17:47 , George Flood

The momentum had changed massively after such a good fifth from Baker, but he’s inexplicably stepped off the gas in the sixth... and he knows it.

Flynn needed a decent round to fight back there, and he gets it with his legs firmly back underneath him. Stellar grit and determination from the Oxford lightweight.

Baker is read the riot act by his corner before the seventh and penultimate round of this truly absorbing clash.

Flynn vs Baker

Saturday 1 April 2023 17:39 , George Flood

Some fine work from Flynn in another gruelling round as we tick past the halfway mark of this absolute war.

But Baker has come on so strong in the fifth!

That punishing right hand is landing time and time and time again... he can’t miss it.

Flynn now looks in big trouble, possibly out on his feet.

He makes it to the bell, but wow... what a round from Kane Baker. Superb.

Flynn vs Baker

Saturday 1 April 2023 17:32 , George Flood

This is superb action, even with an overzealous referee who is continually warning both fighters.

Flynn has Baker backed up against the ropes in another action-packed third and unloads some big punches to both head and body, but he’s caught and rocked back by a thunderous crack off the back foot from the Brummie.

They trade furious blows again in the centre of the ring, with no one seeming to notice that Baker’s mouthpiece has gone flying to the canvas.

A real firefight this being contested at 100 miles per hour by both men. You can’t take your eyes off it!

Flynn vs Baker

Saturday 1 April 2023 17:25 , George Flood

A cracking start to our third bout of the night at the O2 Arena!

All action in an explosive scrap between undefeated lightweight prospect Jordan Flynn and Birmingham’s Kane Baker.

A superb opening round with both men throwing plenty of big shots, but Flynn landing the more eye-catching blows.

This is scheduled for eight...

Joshua at crossroads for must-win Franklin fight

Saturday 1 April 2023 17:22 , George Flood

As much as he tries to deny it, Anthony Joshua finds himself at a crossroads. Lose to Jermaine Franklin and gone is his stock as a serious heavyweight after what would be a hat-trick of consecutive defeats, writes Matt Majendie.

Joshua is acutely aware of what’s at stake at the O2 Arena tonight and yet goes into the fight far more relaxed than many of his more recent bouts. Ahead of Andy Ruiz Jr, there was a bullishness from both him and his team that they had cracked the UK and were now ready to take the US by storm.

Before Oleksandr Usyk, there was an edginess as he desperately tried to prove to himself and anyone else that would listen that he was technically the better boxer. All that happened was he fell into the trap of playing Usyk at his own game and being completely outboxed.

Gone are the world titles that – the brief Ruiz Jr hiatus aside – have been his for so long to lessen the pressure but there is the knowledge that Franklin, while an impressive heavyweight, is not in the same ballpark as Joshua. In fact, only Usyk, Tyson Fury and potentially Deontay Wilder can consider themselves better heavyweights.

Read the full column here

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Huber gets shock decision over Uldedaj

Saturday 1 April 2023 17:16 , George Flood

It’s all over in today’s second early undercard bout - and a big upset!

Albanian Juergen Uldedaj has been outpointed by Switzerland’s Benoit Huber 77-75 in a gruelling eight-round cruiserweight contest.

That’s Uldedaj’s first defeat of his professional career and he drops to 15-1. He and his corner look stunned by referee Howard Foster’s score, but it was a very close fight that could have gone either way.

As does Huber, who jumps into his trainer’s arms in delight. He moves to 9-3!

Joshua: Having no belts is easier but I want Fury fight

Saturday 1 April 2023 17:07 , George Flood

Anthony Joshua has been keeping Evening Standard readers up to date with his preparations for tonight’s comeback with a daily column published every day this week.

Here’s the final instalment from Friday, where AJ discusses his desire to get back to the top of the heavyweight division and secure a huge showdown with Tyson Fury.

He also discusses training alongside the likes of Errol Spence with new coach Derrick James in Dallas and how he’s felt freer without any belts to worry about...

I’m itching to fight again. It’s what I was born to do, this is my life. As you get closer to fight night, you start counting down the weeks, days and finally hours. I can’t wait for my ring walk and to be under the bright lights once again with people chanting my name.

This is where I belong and I’m ready to show the world what I’ve been working on in camp these past eight weeks. It’s been a new camp with a new trainer but it’s not a new me really. I prefer to say it’s the same old me but with a few more tricks up my sleeve.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

I want to prove to the world I’m the best heavyweight, and I believe I will do that. The belts don’t lie and currently those don’t rest with me but Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk.

The past few months is the first time in a long time that I’ve not had any belts. Don’t get me wrong — I desperately want them back — but not having them has made life easier.

Read Joshua’s pre-fight diary in full here

Kadiru stops Lauriolle in opener

Saturday 1 April 2023 17:01 , George Flood

The early undercard is off and running - and what a start for Peter Kadiru!

The German heavyweight - a sparring partner of Anthony Joshua - has made compatriot Alen Lauriolle retire on his stool after just one round of the opening fight.

Joshua vs Franklin prediction

Saturday 1 April 2023 16:51 , George Flood

This is absolutely must-win territory for Joshua, who has suggested that he could even retire if he suffers a shocking third successive loss and fourth in his last six fights tonight.

Fortunately for him, Franklin is an opponent infinitely more suited to his preferred style than the ultra-slick Usyk.

Whereas he could not really get close to the fleet-footed and highly-skilled Ukrainian thanks to the latter’s dream footwork, movement and mastery of the angles, Franklin is a vastly more hittable target.

Alhough a dangerous customer when standing and trading big punches in the middle of the ring, the ‘989 Assassin‘ is very limited in terms of his other fundamentals and surely won’t have the speed to get away from the much taller Joshua’s sustained and powerful attacks, despite shedding the pounds since his defeat by Whyte in a bid to become more nimble and lighter on his feet.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

AJ needs a statement here, pressuring and letting the huge shots fly from the off. And we think he’s primed to do just that with a big weight jump, to secure an impressive and brutal knockout in the first half of the fight.

Joshua to win by knockout in round five.

Undercard in full

Saturday 1 April 2023 16:49 , George Flood

Fabio Wardley vs Michael Coffie

Austin ‘Ammo’ Williams vs River Wilson-Bent

Galal Yafai vs Moises Calleros

Campbell Hatton vs Louis Fielding

John Hedges vs Daniel Bocianski

Juergen Uldedaj vs Benoit Huber

Peter Kadiru vs Alen Lauriolle

Ziyad Almaayouf vs Georgi Velichkov

Jordan Flynn vs Kane Baker

Click here to read the full blog on The Evening Standard's website