NEW YORK: Both Jermaine Franklin and Jerry “Slugger” Forrest are predicting knockouts when the two heavyweights face off in the main event of ShoBox: The New Generation on Friday, July 12.
Franklin (18-0, 13 KOs) from Saginaw, Mich., and Forrest (25-2, 19 KOs), of Newport News, Va., will meet in the 10-round main event live on SHOWTIME (10 p.m. ET/PT) from Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma, Wash. Battle at the Boat 122 is presented by Salita Promotions and Brian Halquist Productions.
In the co-featured bout, undefeated Swedish heavyweight and top-10 ranked contender Otto Wallin (20-0, 13 KOs) will battle former world title challenger BJ Flores (34-4-1, 21 KOs) in a 10-round clash. The opening bout of the tripleheader telecast will feature a match-up of undefeated featherweight prospects as Giovanni Mioletti (16-0, 7 KOs) faces off with Luis Porozo (14-0, 7 KOs).
The 25-year-old Franklin, a 2014 National Golden Gloves Champion and widely regarded as the top American heavyweight prospect, says he’ll be a different fighter against Forrest than the one who made his ShoBox debut with a unanimous decision over former No. 1-ranked U.S. amateur Rydell Booker last April.
“I learned to have more self-control and patience in that fight,” said Franklin. “Boxing is a tough sport and I think as a boxer, sometimes we try too hard to go for the knockout. I learned to stay patient, be calm, fight my fight and not rush things.”
Against Forrest, Franklin will be facing a more aggressive and less mobile style, which may be more suited to him than Booker’s elusive counterpunching.
“I’ve seen some tape on Forrest and I know he’s left-handed and throws a lot of looping punches,” Franklin said. “He’ll be right in front for me to hit. He seems very flat-footed, so I’ll use angles against him. But I feel like I don’t need a certain opponent to look good against. I took myself out of my last fight. I didn’t show what I can do. I’ll be more focused this time. I’ve developed to another stage since then.”
Franklin says it’s slowly sinking in that he’s graduated to a main event fighter.
“It just hit me two or three days ago that I’m headlining my own card on SHOWTIME,” said Franklin. “For a while it seemed unreal, but I don’t want to get too excited, so I’m trying to stay level-headed right now. I’ve been doing a lot of weight training and resistance training and pushing past the limit. I do a full workout in the gym and then workout on something else for another hour. I’m pushing past the limits of being tired to regain that second wind faster. I’m learning how to work hard without emptying my gas tank.”
According to Franklin, if he uses all his tools the way he’s supposed to, he’ll walk away with another knockout on his record.
“I picture a knockout or TKO,” Franklin said. “I’m not going to rush anything. I’m just going to fight my fight, but I feel I can get the KO if I stay calm. It’ll come. It’s inevitable.
The 31-year-old Forrest has won 18 consecutive fights and says this fight will show the world what he already knows: that he’s a world-class heavyweight who was waiting for his big break.
“Honestly, it’s kind of like the first chance for people to see what I’ve already been doing for years,” Forrest said. “The only difference is the cameras. It’ll still be my fight. Just the world gets to see it. I can’t wait to show on a national scale what I was capable of.”
Surprisingly, Forrest says his ring name of “Slugger” has nothing to do with boxing.
“Slugger is not really a nickname,” Forrest said. “My entire family calls me slugger because I almost passed away when I was born. My mom had blood poisoning and had to have transfusions. They told my parents to go ahead and get a casket prepared for me. My mom told me ‘you got to fight, slugger.’ Shortly after that, I opened my eyes for the first time.”
Forrest says he and trainer Anthony Chase are putting in good work but haven’t done anything different in the gym for this big test.
“I’ve already had four fights this year,” Forrest continued. “I’m in fantastic shape and training is going well. I do two or three workouts a day. I’m working on my recovery time a bit more, but I haven’t changed the way I do things. I don’t change the process if it works. I just do more.”
Power and experience are the reasons why Forrest predicts he’ll stop Franklin.
“I’m going to outbox him until I stop him,” said Forrest. “He can’t outbox me. I don’t think he has the skills, power, stamina, accuracy or boxing IQ to stand with me. It’s not a real planned style of his. I don’t think he thinks much in the ring. If you’re in better shape as a heavyweight, you will win the fight. I’m sure he’s training a bit harder, but he didn’t take his last fight seriously and he got hit with a lot of flush shots.
“I’m a power puncher. I have 19 KOs and a lot of them are in the early rounds. I’m good at seeing punches and being able to avoid them. I’m also very adaptive in the ring and even though he’s taller, his reach is shorter than mine. A lot of guys get thrown up really fast and they’re not ready for it. This is one of those cases. I will stop him.”
Barry Tompkins will call the action from ringside with boxing historian Steve Farhood and former world champion Raul Marquez serving as expert analysts. The executive producer is Gordon Hall with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.