Hearn: Whyte, not Fury, is the best fight for Joshua

Eddie Hearn believes Anthony Joshua’s performance against Jermaine Frankin demonstrated that Dillian Whyte is Joshua’s ideal next opponent.

Franklin, 29, had been selected to encourage Joshua to start to rebuild his reputation and confidence after successive defeats by Oleksandr Usyk and, after Franklin had been considered unfortunate to have dropped a majority decision to Whyte, to build Joshua-Whyte II.

Joshua’s laboured performance in recording a unanimous decision meant that there remains a chance his reputation and confidence were instead harmed, and his promoter recognised the importance of him spending further time with his new trainer Derrick James in Dallas over ensuring that the biggest fights come next.

“Dillian Whyte’s a good fight,” Hearn said. “The problem will be, the public will always want the biggest fights out there, and that’s the Tyson Fury fight. The sensible thing to do is to keep improving with Derrick James. 

“You can’t just let a fighter have one fight and then jump into the biggest fight. But at the same time, we realise that certain fights, you get the chance to make them at certain times, and maybe that is the time with Tyson Fury.

The fight had been billed New Dawn, in response not only to the recruitment of James to succeed Robert Garcia, but Joshua’s risky commitment to DAZN at the expense of his long-term broadcaster Sky Sports.

“Solid – not spectacular at all points,” Hearn responded when asked his thoughts on the performance of his leading fighter, 33.  “There was a huge amount of pressure on him. At times he boxed with the apprehension of what was on the line – pressure that was on the line as well. 

“I liked his engine; I liked his jab early on. Jermaine Franklin came to survive after he got hurt, which made it difficult. But that’s his third trainer in three fights, so it was good to get the 12 rounds.

“His defence was good. His feet were good. He took some decent shots – he didn’t look hurt. His engine was great. Normally at times he might look tired in a fight – I thought he had plenty of energy.