Three drug test fails and a suspension: Anthony Joshua’s five-man shortlist
A shortlist has been revealed reportedly containing the names of five fighters being considered by Anthony Joshua to replace Jarrell Miller.
The Daily Mail, a news source where promoter Eddie Hearn has a column, has stated the following quintet are in the frame.
Luis Ortiz, Adam Kownacki, Kubrat Pulev, Mahmoud (Manuel) Charr and Michael Hunter.
It’s quite an interesting list, given the fact that two of the names have failed drug tests in the past.
Ortiz (twice) and Charr have both been asked to explain adverse findings in the last few years.
Another in Pulev has currently had his license revoked due to an investigation made by a reporter or unwanted affections.
Kownacki and Hunter, on the other hand, seem to be solid choices and regulars in speculation.
It remains to be seen what happens next as Joshua awaits Miller’s B-Sample results before finalizing a new opponent.
Joshua and Hearn will be working around the clock to ensure they have a replacement for June 1 at Madison Square Garden.
Early on Wednesday, WBN posted a list of those who may be considered.
An American. Already training for a fight on May 25 and has thrown his hat into the ring. Strong consideration.
The top candidate of the moment due to Brooklyn, New York ties. Also, unlikely to be chosen for an opportunity outright.
Therefore, Kownacki’s best chance of getting a title shot without being mandatory would be to snap Eddie Hearn’s hand off should the contract come his way.
Kownacki at 19-0 is highly-ranked, but could still be at least two years away from being a stipulated challenger to Joshua.
A known name in New York due to three fights in the last four years at MSG and Barclays, Ortiz would be a good fit to call upon.
As Eddie Hearn is currently working with promoter Bob Arum on Terence Crawford v Amir Khan, Rivas may come up in conversations to face Joshua.
Has ties to Matchroom Sport and recently fought in the USA three times. The only downfall is Kuzmin is not American.
The Pole has ties to New York in the past. Has fought at both MSG and Barclays. Szpilka was leading Deontay Wilder on points when wiped out in the ninth round.
Holds two victories on the spin. Is American and will travel.
Fought last weekend and won. Due to being outside the Top 15 rankings, Franklin would be able to lobby with the WBA, IBF, IBO or WBO to be rated in May if an opportunity to fight Joshua presented itself.
Franklin is also linked to Miller’s promoter Dmitriy Salita and cannot be ruled out.
The current WBA interim champion and holds a United States passport.
A former Joshua opponent, Whyte has been calling for his shot for a long time. But would he take the fight on six weeks’ notice? – It’s doubtful. There’s also the fact that Whyte is not a major name in the United States to contend with. Fans have bought tickets to see an American opponent or at least someone with stateside form.
Suffered a defeat to Oscar Rivas recently or may well have been in the frame.
The Frenchman lost his last fight. Otherwise, he may have had a chance on the back of a solid effort against Wilder in 2015.
A lack of United States activity sees the Finn out of contention despite three victories on the bounce.
The undefeated European champion but with no form at all on US soil.
Lost to Joshua in 2018.
Has to answer allegations to the California State Commission next month over an incident with a reporter.
Already defeated by Joshua and not well-known enough in the USA.
The Brit is not established enough across the Atlantic yet.
Blasted out in two rounds against Joshua when the pair met previously. A very hard sell.
The WBA title holder hasn’t fought since November 2017 for one reason or another. Taking AJ at six weeks notice and with just two fights in three years doesn’t seem a likely scenario.
Also, Charr has never fought in the United States. Again, choosing an opponent without some ties to the US seems unfathomable for a New York headlining event.
Fights on May 18 against mandatory challenger Dominic Breazeale.
Pencilled in for a Las Vegas debut against Tom Schwarz on June 15.
Chisora is already facing Senad Gashi on the Dave Allen v Lucas Browne bill this weekend. A win would not give ‘WAR’ enough time to prepare.
ANDY RUIZ JR.
Fighting Alexander Dimitrenko this weekend.
Too early for the former cruiserweight king. US debut set for May 25 against Carlos Takam.