Dillian Whyte made his case for a potential rematch with Anthony Joshua in 2023 with a majority decision win over Jermaine Franklin on Saturday night.
However, the result has divided opinion among boxing fans with the American putting in a far better performance than many expected and subsequently claiming he was ‘robbed’ by the judges.
The fight began with both men marching to the middle of the ring and attempting to establish their jabs.
Franklin caught the eye with a series of accurate shots early on, though Whyte was unbothered.
Despite being in enemy territory, the American appeared not to be overawed in his first step up and first fight away from home.
This pattern continued into round two, though Whyte battled back with big body shots.
In the third, Whyte upped his output and found a home for some crushing blows which slowed Franklin down.
The Brit was happy to ship punches in order to close the gap and attempt to wear the American down.
Round five saw Franklin give a spirited effort as he utilised his superior hand speed to land the more frequent blows.
Whyte replied with harder punches, but as they hit the halfway point it appeared as though Franklin had built a points lead.
Despite the Brit’s body work to try and wear his opponent down, the American kept firing away unfazed.
Franklin briefly staggered Whyte with a huge right hand at the end of round nine as the bell came at the right time for the 34-year-old.
As they entered the championship rounds, Whyte sought an advantage and yet again Franklin refused to let him have anything easily.
This time it was a big right hand from the Brit which ended the round.
The American finally seemed to be tiring as he entered the latter stages of a 12-round fight for the first time of his career, but continued to throw back as Whyte tried to pressurise him,
In the final round, the pair stood and traded in the middle of the ring, both giving it everything in a slugfest-style session.
Whyte rocked Franklin with a massive hook in the final seconds, then the final bell rang to save the American.
When the scorecards were read out, Whyte was declared the winner by majority decision with scores of 115-115, 116-112, 116-112.
“I felt like I got robbed, Franklin said post-fight.
“I felt like I did enough to get the decision. I felt like I won the earlier rounds. I just felt like I got robbed on the decision.”
Joshua watched from ringside and showed respect to Whyte, knowing full well they could lock horns again in 2023.