Regarded by many as one of the most exciting American Heavyweight prospects, Jermaine “989 Assassin” Franklin (18-0 13KO) returns to the ring on July 12 when he takes on Jerry Forrest (25-2 19KO) in Tacoma, USA.
The fight is live on Showtime in the USA and is another instalment of the boxing series “ShoBox: The New Generation” aimed at bringing through the next crop of American talent.
Franklin was born and raised in Saginaw, Michigan a city that has produced superstars such as Stevie Wonder and Serena Williams. Despite being a hotbed for talent, the city has its troubles. Violent crime influenced by drug and gang activity has affected the city for generations and made it a precarious place for a young person to grow up. Luckily for Jermaine Franklin, he found the boxing gym.
“Saginaw is a place that is on the road to recovery, it is not a place for the weak minded. Growing up in the ‘989’ you have to be street smart and my mother worked hard and did everything she could to keep me on the right path but at school, I was getting into fights, that is when my step dad took me to the boxing gym. I was always into sports so boxing came naturally to me and the rest is history”
Quickly realising he had natural talent for the art of boxing, Franklin went on to enjoy a highly successful amateur career, winning the coveted National Golden Gloves Championship in 2014. A chance to compete at the Olympic Games followed, but Franklin had other plans and in 2015, he stepped into the world of professional boxing.
“My amateur career was special. The experience was great and I had some good wins over people like Cassius Chaney and Cam F. Awesome, leading to me having the chance to go to the Olympic Games but I decided to move into professional boxing”
The decision to turn professional has turned out to be an inspired move. Since Franklin’s debut in April 2015 he has built up a record of eighteen wins, thirteen of those wins coming by way of knockout. Interestingly, nine of his thirteen knockout victories have come in the very first round.
Evidently, Jermaine Franklin possesses the power necessary to become a force in the Heavyweight division but in his last outing against the experienced Rydell Booker (25-2 13KO), Franklin proved he is far more than just a big puncher.
“I am a thinker inside the ring, although I can brawl, I can box too. I am always looking for angles to pick my spots to attack. Boxing is a mental game, I realise I have to stay patient and stick to the game plan that my team sets. I learnt a lot about myself in my last fight, I gave myself about a 7 out of 10 and it was a great experience for me and my team to carry forward into future camps.”
The fight with Booker was Franklin’s first under the Salita Promotions banner, which is headed by former world title challenger, Dmitriy Salita.
Salita has been vocal in his praise for his new heavyweight hope and with his ability to place Franklin on a platform as big as Showtime in the USA, the Saginaw native is now getting the TV exposure that his talent deserves.
As he approaches the second fight of his promotional agreement with Salita, there is a sense of momentum building around the 25-year-old and he has now been matched against the heavy-handed Jerry Forrest.
Forrest, 31, has only two losses in a twenty-seven fight career to date. His last loss was five years ago, and he has only been beaten by fighters who have gone on to compete at the very top of the division, Michael Hunter and Gerald Washington, respectively.
A win over Forrest would push Jermaine Franklin closer to a top 15 world ranking and with the fight only two weeks away, he is in confident mood about the fight and the future.
“July 12 It’s simple, a knockout and win number 19.”
“The heavyweight division is very interesting right now. You have Tyson Fury at the top, he is the best, he can fight, but when the time is right I will take on anyone I have to, to get that heavyweight belt.
“After this, fighters like Adam Kownacki and Charles Martin are who I am aiming at, they can get me closer to a title shot and that is my focus”
Jermaine Franklin certainly has the talent and self-confidence to make his presence known in the Heavyweight division. Andy Ruiz blew the division wide open earlier this month beating unified champion Anthony Joshua, and now there is a real possibility that the whole landscape at the top of the division is about to change. With that, the sport has a generation of young, hungry heavyweights ready to crash the world scene.
The “989 Assassin” believes he is leading the pack and that he next dominant heavyweight, in waiting. As he plots his path to the top, Franklin is not short of motivation.
“I love the competition; I love showing another fighter that I am the best man in this ring. I am here to be the best and to one day, be the champ and not just inside the ring. I want to leave a positive image both inside and outside the ring”
“But most importantly, I fight for my two daughters. They mean the world to me”