Jermaine Franklin invited child cancer patient James Lewis to make the ring walk with him ahead of his clash with Anthony Joshua.
The American posted a message on Twitter ahead of the fight saying: “Tonight is special for both of our lives.
“James who is going through his last week of chemo will walk me to the ring. He is a true assassin. Welcome to the 989 assassin family.”
Franklin also shared a picture with Lewis on his Instagram story alongside the caption: “@james_taylor_archy_ the real champ, he is fighting cancer. I’m in your corner.”
Clearly delighted with the opportunity, Lewis shared a heart-warming video on his social media showing a clip from two years ago when he needed a Zimmer frame to walk, but tonight he made the ring walk with Franklin unassisted.
Lewis, who on his Instagram explains that he has a Pilocytic Astrocytoma T6-L3 tumour of the spinal cord, has received messages of support from a number of boxers over the years, including David Haye and Tyson Fury.
Franklin explained how he got to know James, as he told Matchroom backstage before making his ring walk: “I met James at the weigh-ins, I just took a picture with him because I’m nice to everybody and then I found out that he has cancer, so it’s a huge motivation for me and so we invited him to walk me out.
“He’s fighting a battle everyday so it kind of gave me motivation because you never know what people might be going through, some people’s lives can be way tougher but you don’t see it because they don’t show it, so it gave me a little inspiration.”
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Despite having Lewis’ support, this was not enough for Franklin to emerge victorious against Joshua, as AJ won by unanimous decision.
The action even continued after the bell as Joshua and Franklin continued fighting and members of both men’s teams got involved before security separated them.
By the time of Joshua’s post-fight interview, however, he had calmed down, as he said: “Last time I grabbed the mic, it was a bit chaotic. I’m calm, I appreciate everyone coming out this evening.
“Inside the ring, it is a different energy so I apologise to those watching. I respect Jermaine, Eddie [Hearn], thank you for this opportunity. Fans, thank you as well.
“It was important to win. Jermaine has a good duck and dive style, somebody else from Britain will probably knock him out; respect to him, he did well.
“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.”