A former high-level professional kickboxer will try to continue his impressive transition to prizefighting when undefeated heavyweight Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller (14-0-1, 12 KOs) faces once-beaten Uzbekistan-born Ahror “Aha” Muralimov (14-1, 11 KOs) on ShoBox: The New Generation this Friday, Oct. 23, live on SHOWTIME (10:30 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast).
The up-and-coming Miller, who is making his ShoBox debut, is looking to take the next step in establishing himself as a legitimate fighter-to-watch in the heavyweight division. A pro since July 2009, he will be fighting for the fifth time in 2015. The 27-year-old Miller won his last three fights by knockout, all within the first two rounds, including a first-round knockout of Excell Holmes in his most recent bout on June 26.
While the Brooklyn born and raised Miller is now fully focused on a fistic career, he hails from an MMA and kickboxing background. For a few years, he competed in K-1, historically the world’s premier kickboxing organization, and twice fought the legendary Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovi?.
Miller had very little amateur boxing experience, but he has sparred extensively with heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko.
Here’s what Miller had to say during a recent Q&A with SHOWTIME Sports prior to his eight-round scrap with Muralimov:
How would you say your career is going?
“The beginning of my career started off slow because I was associated with the wrong guys, but now I’m in a good spot and my career has really taken off. We are moving in the right direction and I am ready to knockout everyone that comes in my path.”
You had very limited amateur experience. Your opponent was an accomplished amateur with international experience. How will you deal with that, or is that even a factor?
“I don’t take the amateur experience for granted, but his amateur experience isn’t really a factor for me. I have had some experience sparring current and former champions. I sparred with Wladimir Klitschko. I’m ready and I am going to knock him out.
“The Eastern Europeans think they are the best thing since sliced bread, but I’m going to show him what it means to be a true American heavyweight.”
What do you think of Ahror Muralimov and what are his strengths and weaknesses?
“Muralimov has a decent chin and a good left hook. His weakness is that he has never fought anyone like me.”
You have a five-inch height advantage in this one. How will that work in your favor?
“My height advantage will work for me. A tall fighter is going to fight tall. I’m not going to bring myself down to his level. I’m going to pick him apart and knock him out.
“This is pure business and he’s the next cookie that will crumble, so I need to throw him away in the trash.”
You initially turned pro as a kickboxer and had a successful career. Why did you make the transition to boxing?
“I’ve always been interested in boxing, but it just wasn’t the right moment at the time to start boxing because I was finding success in kickboxing. I now feel like I can get more output from my input from boxing, so I am focused strictly on that. Even before I started kickboxing I always knew that I would eventually turn to boxing.’’
You’ve gone six full rounds twice. This fight is scheduled for eight. Are you concerned about stamina and going eight rounds, if necessary?
“I can box eight rounds in my sleep. I’m not worried about eight rounds. I’m a warrior, I can go all night. I’ve been training for 12 years, so I train harder and harder for each fight that I have. This is my time and I’m coming for the spotlight, period.”
Deontay Wilder was also a sparring partner for Wladimir. When you think about today’s top heavyweights, what names quickly come to mind and do you feel you are ready for them, or do you think you may need a little more seasoning?
“I definitely want to fight one 10-round and one 12-round fight before fighting for the title. I want to get in the ring with good, durable opponents who have good records and knock them out in the last round so I can get some rounds in. But if Wladimir or Deontay wanted to fight tomorrow I would take it.”
Do you look at Wilder as an inspiration?
“I was happy that Deontay won the belt. For any American to make it out of the neighborhood he did and win the belt is an inspiration.”
You have sparred extensively with Wladimir Klitschko. How often/for how many fights did you work with him?
“The first time I sparred with Wladimir, I only had two professional fights under my belt. The last camp I sparred with him I was supposed to be there for four weeks, but I beat him up badly after two weeks so they sent me home.
“Wladmir is a champion in and outside of the ring. His attitude is something that I admire, but I would love to knock him out.”
How important is it for you to make a statement in your ShoBox debut? Is this the kind of opportunity you’ve been looking/waiting for?
“It’s very important for me to make a statement on ShoBox. An opportunity like this doesn’t come around too often. My goal is to go out there and look phenomenal. I want to look like brand new money and crush this guy.
“I’ve been looking for an opportunity like this for a long time. This is my time and I have no doubt in my mind that after this fight people will know my name.’’
Your prediction on the Battle of Brooklyn, Daniel Jacobs or Peter Quillin and why?
“Both of these guys are my dudes. In my opinion, Quillin is the harder puncher, but Jacobs is the better boxer. If Daniel sticks to his gameplan, then he can win, but if he sits there and trades punches with Quillin he will get hurt. I think the fight is 50-50.”
In the main event of Friday’s ShoBox quadrupleheader at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix, Ariz., undefeated Rob “Bravo” Brant (17-0, 11 KOs), of St. Paul, Minn., faces Louis “The Unknown” Rose (13-2-1, 5 KOs), of Los Angeles, in a 10-round bout for the vacant WBC Continental Americas middleweight title.
In other eight-round televised bouts, unbeaten Filipino prospect Harmonito “El Huracan de Gensan” Dela Torre (16-0, 11 KOs) will make his U.S. debut againstAngel “El Gato” Luna (12-1-1, 7 KOs), of the Dominican Republic and Lavarn “Baby Bowe” Harvell (15-1, 8 KOs) of Atlantic City will face southpaw Samuel “The Main Event” Clarkson (16-3, 10 KOs), of Cedar Hills, Texas, in a light heavyweight match-up. All but Clarkson will be making their ShoBox debuts.