It wasn’t convincing, but Dillian Whyte got the job done.
The longtime heavyweight contender defeated relative unknown, but determined American Jermaine Franklin by a majority decision in a competitive fight Saturday at OVO Arena in London.
The victory could set up a rematch with Anthony Joshua, who was at ringside and reportedly has been receptive to Whyte’s wish to fight him next year.
Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte showing respect after Whyte’s win over Jermaine Franklin tonight… pic.twitter.com/j743g1GfPX
— Michael Benson (@MichaelBensonn) November 26, 2022
Whyte (29-3, 19 KOs) had lost two of his previous three fights, including a sixth-round knockout against titleholder Tyson Fury in April.
Still, Franklin (21-1, 14 KOs) wasn’t given much of a chance against a veteran of so many big-time events. Then the fight started.
Neither man was able to gain a clear advantage in a grueling, back-and-forth fight, although two judges evidently were convinced that Whyte had outworked his stubborn opponent.
The 35-year-old Londoner won 116-112 — eight rounds to four — on two scorecards. The third judge scored it 115-115.
Some believe that the cards favoring Whyte were too wide, including Franklin, who thought he deserved the victory.
“I felt like I got robbed, I felt like I did enough to get the decision,” he said, according to The Mirror. “I felt like I won the earlier rounds. I just felt like I got robbed on the decision.”
Nevertheless, it’s Whyte who had his hand raised and took a step toward a bigger fight.
Whyte was stopped by Joshua in seven rounds back in 2015, before Joshua became a world titleholder. He would like to avenge that setback. More important, a victory over Joshua would make him a candidate to fight for a title one more time.