If former unified heavyweight champ Anthony Joshua is in fact fighting in August, he apparently needs a different opponent than his countryman Dillian Whyte. And, now it looks like that it may be a man he was to have fought in June 2019 before failed PED tests derailed their championship meeting.
Sky Sports in England reported Tuesday night that now, twice disgraced Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller of New York is now on the radar as the new choice for Joshua’s comeback trail towards fighting for the heavyweight crown, again.
From their item,
Jarrell Miller is set to be offered as a replacement opponent for Anthony Joshua after talks for a Dillian Whyte rematch broke down.
The American heavyweight tested positive for banned substances in 2019, which ended plans for a New York fight, but Miller’s promoter Dmitriy Salita has confirmed he is going to put forward Miller again as a potential fight for Joshua.
The 34 year old Miller is 26-0-1 and was to have been in the ring with Joshua on June 1st 2019 at Madison Square Garden. Instead, after failing a random drug test during training for multiple banned substances he was replaced by Andy Ruiz. Ruiz promptly pulled one of the all time stunning upsets in modern heavyweight history by kayoing Joshua in seven rounds.
The 33 year old Joshua regained his WBA/IBF/WBO titles in their rematch six months later scoring a unanimous decision.
Miller didn’t learn his lesson from costing himself the massive payday for the Joshua bout, while fighting for the titles and failed another PED test before he could ever headline for Top Rank Boxing in July of 2020. Those failed tests kept him suspended from the sport for over three years total and he returned with a decision win last June over Ariel Esteban Bracamonte. Miller has won two more fights since.
As for Joshua, he since lost the belts and then, again in a rematch to current unified champ, Oleksandr Usyk. He has won a single fight with American Jermaine Franklin in a solid but not memorable decision back in April of this year.
Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn has been trying to make a Joshua-Whyte rematch for August, but Whyte, whom Hearn used to promote, has refused to agree to money for another shot at Joshua. Hearn told IFL TV on Tuesday morning.
“We made him (Whyte) an offer which they made it clear was nowhere near their expectations, and, quite honestly, there were very little negotiations after that. He never asked for ten million (dollars). Not sure where that came from,”
Joshua, 25-3, 22 KOs, kayoed Whyte in a contender battle in the seventh round in December 2015.
The belief is that Joshua will finally meet former WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder in a showdown in Saudi Arabia this December. Back to Hearn on the IFL TV interview,
“AJ’s going to fight Deontay Wilder in December – that’s our 100% focus. So he needs a fight against someone who’s going to allow him to work on, under the lights, everything he’s been working on with Derrick James,” he told the show.
“There’s no point fighting a fight that’s against someone he’s going to take out in a round. And it’s difficult to fight an elite, top three of five guy when you’re fighting Deontay Wilder four months later.”
So, now we wait to see if it will be Miller in place of Joshua and if Miller can stay “clean” for a possible August meeting likely in London.