JERMAINE FRANKLIN is one of three names in talks to fight Anthony Joshua – but is ready and waiting to accept a deal.
AJ is in line to return on April 1 back at the O2 Arena for the first time in seven years.
And following two defeats to Oleksandr Usyk, 36, in the space of 11 months, Joshua, 33, is primed for a confidence-building comeback bout.
Franklin, 29, is alongside Aussie southpaw Demsey McKean, 32, and veteran Gerald Washington, 40, in consideration to fight AJ.
His promoter Dmitriy Salita agreed a deal for the American to face Dillian Whyte, 34, in November, which ended in a disputed decision loss.
Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn held talks with Salita just days ago and although no official paperwork has been exchanged, Franklin is raring to go.
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Anthony Joshua set to fight Jermaine Franklin on April 1 in comeback bout
Salita told SunSport: "I think that Jermaine is one of the frontrunners.
"Joshua is an amazing heavyweight. But at this point the question is how much does Joshua want to test himself and risk?
"Jermaine is waiting for confirmation and the fight announcement press conference.
"Jermaine’s side is on board as soon as Joshua gives that green light."
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Joshua was ringside to watch Whyte escape with a majority-decision verdict over Franklin.
It has set the pair up for a summer rematch, which would come eight years after AJ's epic KO win.
But Whyte is set for a tune-up bout also while Joshua welcomes himself back to the ring.
Following the controversy with Franklin's first trip to London, Salita feels his man is deserving of a shot at AJ.
He said: "I believe that from all the names I saw recently and they are Demsey Mckean, Gerald Washington and Jermaine.
"Jermaine by far deserves the opportunity but he is not the mandatory just a people’s challenger from this bunch.
"There is nothing Jermaine can do to force the fight. We are grateful for the opportunity if it in fact materialises."
Franklin still feels there is unfinished business with Whyte and wants a rematch.
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But he also has his eyes on Tyson Fury, 34, and Oleksandr Usyk, 36, who are set to unify all for belts this year.
Salita said: "From our point of view Jermaine’s plan is to beat Joshua, fight Whyte in a rematch and then fight the winner of Fury versus Usyk."
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