Anthony Joshua wins heavyweight fight against Jermaine Franklin

British boxer Anthony Joshua has won his heavyweight fight against American Jermaine Franklin by unanimous decision at London's O2 Arena.

The former two-time world champion was fighting without a belt on the line for the first time since 2015.

Joshua, 33, went into the ring having lost three of his previous five contests, which included consecutive losses to Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk.

The judges scored the London bout 118-111, 117-111 and 117-111 in favour of the home favourite after a laboured display.

Joshua regularly landed with his left jab and caught Franklin, 29, on a number of occasions with his powerful right but the American stood firm - and on occasion cheekily poked his tongue out at his far bigger and taller opponent.

There was a bizarre moment in the final 12th round when Joshua pushed his head into Franklin sparking an angry reaction from Lorenzo Adams, the strength and conditioning coach of the US boxer, who pushed the Finchley fighter.

But the matter was quickly settled and Joshua's hand was lifted to earn him a 25th professional win.

Speaking after his victory, Joshua told the 22,000-strong crowd: "Last time I grabbed the mic, it was a bit chaotic. I'm calm; I appreciate everyone coming out this evening."

Joshua was referencing the second Usyk clash where he had a post-fight meltdown.

He added: "I should have knocked him out but it is done. On to the next. He is here to prove himself, not roll over. I wish I could have knocked him out."

Read more:
Ukraine's Oleksandr Usyk beats Anthony Joshua in heavyweight rematch

Anthony Joshua: 'I let myself down' after Oleksandr Usyk defeat
Anthony Joshua knocks out Kubrat Pulev to retain heavyweight titles

Joshua invited WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury to think about a future fight.

"I would be honoured to fight for the WBC Heavyweight championship of the world. If he's listening, he knows my promoter; we've had dialogue before, so let's continue this. We ain't getting any younger," he said.

Without a knockout to have sealed the deal, questions remain about a fight with Fury.

"Tonight was a step down from Oleksandr Usyk, but there was huge pressure," said promoter Eddie Hearn, who added that Joshua "ended the fight well".