Anthony Joshua has found himself in a strange position of late. Mulling over an opponent who was never in his sights for the first half of 2019.
The four-belt unified heavyweight champion put out a fall poll following victory over Alexander Povetkin last September.
At the time, Joshua was riding the crest of a wave on the back of beating Wladimir Klitschko. AJ had even followed up the win by adding another belt to his haul against Joshua Parker less than a year later.
Fast forward another twelve months and things are in danger of falling flat.
Joshua’s opponent vote, dated at the end of September, saw Deontay Wilder win the day. Second place was British rival Tyson Fury. With Dillian Whyte, the favorite at the time, gaining only 5% of the vote.
Whyte was thought to be nailed for a date booked well in advance at Wembley Stadium. But things just haven’t gone to plan for Josuha or promoter Eddie Hearn.
Offers to all three names on the list were rejected. Even Whyte wanted £2 million more than was on the table.
Wilder and Fury obviously have a huge rematch to keep them busy stateside. Whilst Whyte has targeted Dominic Breazeale, Luis Ortiz or Povetkin.
Jarrell Miller has now moved into the picture as Joshua wants a piece of that American pie.
A fight in June at Madison Square Garden is currently in the works. That is unless a last-minute deal is made with Whyte or Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev is drafted in.
Those latter options have to still be considered as Joshua v Miller has received a luke-warm reception from fans and media alike since inception.
It’s a tough spot for Joshua. The 28 year-old just can’t win as all and sundry want him in the ring with Wilder or Fury, which just isn’t possible.
Without the big two, Whyte would be the only logical choice. Although even ‘The Bodysnatcher’ is unwilling to dip below his own worth.
Miller could probably be snagged for around $2 to 3 million dollars. A relatively cheap move as Joshua treads water to begin a PR assault in America.
After ‘Big Baby’, who knows where Joshua can go. Maybe resurrect the Whyte deal or face Cuban Luis Ortiz in another US venture.
Arch-rivals Wilder and Fury could be out of commission for some time as their saga rumbles on. Leaving Joshua with a pool of contenders to pick from for the immediate future.