American heavyweight Jarrell Miller is facing up to the possibility his world title dream against Anthony Joshua is over for 2019.
‘Big Baby’ has been flagged by the VADA drug testing system over an ‘adverse finding’ in a test last month.
Due to the nature of the failure, it’s highly likely Miller will not be in the opposite corner to Joshua on June 1st at Madison Square Garden.
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn has already confirmed Joshua will continue with the date whatever transpires.
“We have been informed by VADA that there has been an adverse finding in Jarrell Miller’s sample collected on March 20th, 2019,” said Hearn.
“We’re working with all relevant parties. We will update with more details soon. AJ’s preparation continues for June 1st at MSG,” he added.
Miller’s promoter, ex-pro Dmitriy Salita, has stated his fighter will continue to prepare in case the clash goes ahead.
“We are in the process of obtaining further information about VADA’s finding. We will have more to say soon on this developing situation.
“In the meantime, Jarrell continues to train for his June 1 fight against Anthony Joshua,” said Salita.
The New York State Athletic Commission ruling in favor of Miller would be a massive improbability at this stage.
So who could step in and fill the void opposite Joshua?
Here are the available contenders to consider:
An American. Already training for a fight on May 25 and has thrown his hat into the ring. Strong consideration.
A top candidate at 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. It’s a bonus that Ortiz is also a former Deontay Wilder foe, which would give Joshua the chance to better his American rival’s tenth round stoppage in 2017.
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. Rivas is on form and scored a career-best triumph in Verona against Bryant Jennings in January.
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.
These names would be doubtful:
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.
Finally, this is a list of fighters who are off the menu completely:
Fights on May 18 against mandatory challenger Dominic Breazeale.
Pencilled in for a Las Vegas debut against Tom Schwarz on June 15.
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.
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.
Fighting Alexander Dimitrenko this weekend. Unlikely.
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.
Too early for the former cruiserweight king. US debut set for May 25 against Carlos Takam.
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.