For Whyte vs Povetkin match, Alexander Povetkin’s team wanted Jermaine Franklin to mimic Dillian Whyte’s aggressive style, but the rising American contender could not travel for sparring sessions.
Whyte vs Povetkin: Russian’s former world champion is preparing to face Whyte in Manchester on May 2, live on Sky Sports Box Office, and had requested Franklin, an unbeaten 26-year-old, to replicate a battle with the British powerhouse.
The Michigan man could not fly out to attend Povetkin’s training camp due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but promoter Dmitriy Salita still hopes Franklin can spar with the respected veteran in the future.
“I feel Jermaine is the best American heavyweight and once he is fully developed, has the ability to be a heavyweight world champion,” Salita told Sky Sports.
“Being in training camp with an experienced fighter like Povetkin, who is getting ready for a big fight for “Whyte vs Povetkin”, is a priceless experience for him.
“Jermaine has superb athleticism for a heavyweight. His talent is at least on par with Whyte.”
Povetkin is trying to force his way back into world title contention following a knockout loss to Anthony Joshua at Wembley in 2018, while Whyte has based his training camp in Portugal as he prepares to risk his status as WBC mandatory challenger.
Franklin has ambitions of his own, having racked up 20 straight victories, including 13 knockouts, and could return on the undercard as Claressa Shields takes on Marie Eve Dicaire for the WBC, IBF and WBO super-welterweight titles in Michigan on May 9.
“Jermaine is only 26 years old and will only get physically stronger,” said Salita. “At that point, he will be ready for the elite.”
Promoter Eddie Hearn has drawn up a contingency plan for fights in May, with the British Boxing Board of Control extending their suspension on boxing until the end of April, and Whyte-Povetkin and Oleksandr Usyk-Derek Chisora could receive new dates.
Speaking last week, Hearn had told Sky Sports: “We also understand that we have contingencies in place to move Dillian Whyte to the middle of June, to move Derek Chisora-Usyk back into the end of June, early July, and of course Anthony Joshua, who was due to go June 20, at Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.
“Really relies on the run of the Premier League now, because if the Premier League extend their season, Spurs will need their stadium. We already have a reserve date that we’re discussing with Spurs of July 25 for Anthony Joshua against Kubrat Pulev at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.”
The fight, due to take place on 2 May in Manchester, is in doubt and could be postponed this week because of coronavirus.
“It’s quiet but there’s food on the shelves and I have a good set-up here,” Whyte said, on an Instagram live video.
“The mindset is my date is still going ahead, so I’m training.”
The British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) announced on Monday that the suspension of all events under its jurisdiction remains in place until the end of April, and Whyte’s promoter Eddie Hearn said a decision on the fight will be made this week.
The original BBBofC suspension had been until the start of April, although a number of fights in April had already been cancelled.
“I had to drive 40 hours non-stop from my house straight to here. I drove because I brought the dogs with me, so I didn’t want to fly,” said Whyte.
“It’s very important to show people in this time that it’s important to train, to get on with life the best you can in these kinds of situations, because it is easy to panic and just shut down. I’m just trying to show as much positivity as I can.”