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Jermaine Franklin Sues Promoter Salita A Week Before His Fight With Joshua

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Promoter Dmitry Salita during a press conference at the Hilton London Syon Park. The Heavyweight clash between Joshua and Franklin will take place at The O2 on Saturday April 1. Picture date: Thursday February 9, 2023. (Photo by Zac Goodwin/PA Images via Getty Images)

American Heavyweight contender, Jermaine Franklin, was forced to make a tough decision a week before facing Anthony Joshua. Despite his match with the former unified Heavyweight set to take place in less than a week on Saturday, April 1st at the O2 Arena in London, Franklin was put in an uncomfortable position where he needed to sue former boxer and current promoter Dmitry Salita, specifically his company Salita Promotions, because of a wide range of allegations.

On March 24th, Jermaine Franklin (21-1, 14 KO’s) officially sued Salita Promotions – founded by former pro Dmitry Salita – over his contract which the promotion apparently breached by taking the utmost advantage of the fighter. According to some of the details highlighted in the lawsuit, Franklin was subjected to a ‘take it or leave it’ ultimatum for his last two fights where he was forced to either agree on the percentages and terms that they had set for his fights, or refuse which would disallow him from fighting.

This left Jermaine Franklin in an untenable situation with the company as he was forced to take lower percentages than he actually could have earned, or not fight at all thus taking away an opportunity for him to earn money.

With the lawsuit referring to events that stemmed back since before Franklin’s fight with Dillian Whyte (29-3, 19 KO’s) in November of 2022, further details have emerged about how Salita Promotions urged Jermaine Franklin to sign a signature on a contract he had thought would make him face Whyte, but a bout was arranged with another Salita fighter, Otto Wallin (25-1, 14 KO’s), instead.

Jermaine Franklin Sues Promoter Salita A Week Before His Fight With Joshua image 1
LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 24: Dillian Whyte, promoter Eddie Hearn, Jermaine Franklin and promoter Dmitry Salita pose for a photograph during a Dillian Whyte v Jermaine Franklin Press Conference at Royal Institute of British Architects on November 24, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

The slated bout bout between Whyte and Wallin was eventually canceled when Whyte suffered a shoulder injury, and after Franklin hired a new co-manager and signed an agreement with an independent company, he managed to adjust the original contract he had signed with Franklin which saw him earn more money and even more in his training camp advance; earnings that Salita Promotions are alleged to have held back while not in the position to do so.

Following his fight with Dillian Whyte which saw Jermaine Franklin lose in a controversial majority decision to the British fighter, Franklin’s co-manager sought to arrange a fight with Anthony Joshua (24-3, 22 KO’s) and the company that promotes him, Matchroom. However, Salita Promotions again interfered and attempted to put up Otto Wallin as their pick to fight Joshua.

Franklin caught a lucky break when Matchroom decided to pursue him to fight Joshua instead, but the lawsuit doesn’t shy away from again implicating Salita Promotions who acted beyond their role of granting Franklin the permission to fight to ask for a cut of Franklin’s earnings – despite them having no real authority to do so.

Franklin was subsequently with the decision to accept the deal – and Salita Promotion’s part of the percentages of his own earnings for the Joshua fight – within just twenty minutes or they threatened that Matchroom would find another fighter, suggesting that they would sabotage the contract offer for Franklin to fight Joshua.

With Jermaine Franklin now fully aware of the type of gestapo practices that Salita Promotions enforced on him, sought to negotiate with Dmitry Salita with three suggestions of his own:

  1. (1) hire an outside mediator to settle all contractual dispute;
  2. file a joint request for a declaratory judgment; and/or
  3. sign a Stipulated agreement placing 30 per cent of the AJ POS amount in escrow until a good faith negotiation can take place but allowing Franklin to fight

Upon Salita’s dismissal to these suggestions, Franklin was forced to pursue a case with them in court, hence the launch of his lawsuit as of Friday, 24th of March.

Dmitry Salita himself seemed flabbergasted by the sudden case against his company, and gave his own side of what had occurred.

I am surprised and disappointed! I just visited Jermaine in camp in Florida before he left for the UK and everything was good between us.” Salita said in response to SportsMail reaching out to him for clarification.

We have done a great job with Jermaine since he started fighting under our promotional banner in 2019. His first fight with Salita Promotions was also his first fight on television and it was, by multiples, a career high pay day for him. We kept him active and got him great television exposure up until the time when he filed for bankruptcy.

After that we brought him back and worked to get him the opportunity against Dillian Whyte. As Eddie stated at the press conference for Joshua vs Franklin, we started positioning Jermaine for the fight against AJ even before the decision in the Whyte fight was announced.

When I first signed Jermaine I told him that he had the ability to be one of the best heavyweights in the world. And since that moment I have worked diligently to make sure that Jermaine realises his full potential and to offer him the best opportunities.

We have delivered throughout his career and we continue to deliver for him. On April 1 he has the opportunity to catapult himself to the top level of the heavyweight division and I believe he has all of the skills necessary to score the upset.

Salita Promotions was founded by Dmitry Salita in 2010 while Salita was still a professional boxer. Upon retiring, he further focused on turning his promotion into a force and managed to sign some marquee fighters to his brand including the likes of multi-division champion Claressa Shields (13-0, 2 KO’s), Otto Wallin, Jarrell Miller (26-0-1, 22 KO’s) and Vladimir Shishkin (14-0, 8 KO’s).

One of the cases that Franklin went through of Salita Promotions taking a cut out of some his earnings shows eerie similarities to the case of Ivan Redkach (23-6-1, 18 KO’s), who himself was subjected to such practices. In Redkach’s case, his promoter sought to take a part of his cut by co-promoting a fight he had no part in. Though in Franklin’s scenario his promoter is alleged to have not been a co-promoter, promoter or a winner of a purse bid, it makes the accusations towards the company even worse for them given they had no legal right whatsoever to demand a cut.

Though Jermaine Franklin is still set to fight Anthony Joshua on April 1st, he will likely not be employed with Salita Promotions after his fight, regardless of the outcome, given their alleged action towards him over the course of the past couple of years.