Amazingly, an Anthony Joshua v Dillian Whyte rematch has potentially made it back to the table following Jarrell Miller’s impending investigation over a failed drugs test.
Miller’s ‘adverse finding’ with VADA means the ‘Big Baby’ is likely to be thrown out of a fight with Joshua if his B-Sample comes back positive.
Since the announcement early on Wednesday, a free-for-all of opponent names has begun.
The view at WBN is that Miller, being American and all, will surely be replaced with someone known across the Atlantic.
Listing the possibilities, World Boxing News don’t see how it’s viable to have a non-US, or even an opponent in the opposite corner who is relatively unknown to the stateside public.
The fight is staged in New York after all.
The likes of Michael Hunter, Trevor Bryan, Jermaine Franklin and Chris Arreola all hold the correct passport for the job. Whilst Artur Szpilka and Adam Kownacki are both US-based Poles.
Add Luis Ortiz, Sergey Kuzmin and Oscar Rivas to the list of potentials as all are well-known to American boxing audiences of late.
Maybe Ortiz would stand out the most. Although it could take an offer out of the current budget to secure the Cuban on such short notice.
Those nine would be the standout candidates.
Dillian Whyte comes under the ‘unlikely’ banner as the Briton has no profile in the United States market.
Even beating Joseph Parker didn’t really make an impression for Whyte. Which squarely begs the question, ‘would Americans lap up an all-UK fight on their home soil?’
The answer? – A resounding no.
For a start, a lot of UK punters wouldn’t pay their hard earned £20 to stay up until three o’clock in the morning.
One saving grace, and something which could be used to justify Joshua v Whyte II in New York is the fact a lot of tickets sold have been to Brits.
But still, promoter Eddie Hearn has always wanted an American connection for what will be Joshua’s US debut.
We all know Joshua v Whyte II is a lucrative Pay-Per-View in the United Kingdom. This means it’s not smart business to bring it overseas.
Building Joshua v Whyte II for the UK, possibly at The O2 again (as in 2015) or at Wembley, makes a lot more sense than Madison Square Garden.
‘The Bodysnatcher’ saying he’s available and wants the fight is all good an well at six weeks notice. Even then, Hearn would still have to persuade his US employers at DAZN it’s a good idea.
On his best day, Hearn could ice to Eskimos. But shipping Joshua v Whyte II to DAZN and the American boxing fans is a tough gig for anyone.
Names featuring in the ‘not available’ category with WBN have since featured on ‘official Joshua shortlists’ – Kubrat Pulev and Mahmoud (Manuel) Charr to namedrop just two.
Pulev has been enjoying time out of the ring since fighting in March. Plus, the Bulgarian is suspended in California pending an investigation into claims made by a reporter.
It would be unfathomable for another jurisdiction to license Pulev when under this kind of cloud. Even if Pulev has protested his innocence, he won’t find out if he’s cleared until next month.
As for Charr, two fights in three years is bad preparation for one and a half month’s notice. No US profile to speak of whatsoever for the newly-renamed Mahmoud would be a bad move for Joshua…which Hearn fully understands.
It’s far too early for Oleksandr Usyk to take the plunge despite his heavyweight bow being set for a week earlier. Whilst we all know Tyson Fuy and Deontay Wilder are fully off the menu.
The rest? – Well, Joshua has already beaten most of those who could be secured. This makes Hearn’s job all the more difficult.
Miller dropping out really is Joshua’s worst nightmare at this stage of the game. It’s a headache all at Matchroom and DAZN can firmly do without.