Anthony Joshua’s heavyweight showdown with Jarrell Miller at Madison Square Gardens on June 1st has been thrown into disarray after the latter produced “adverse findings” in a VADA test collected on March 20th.
Eddie Hearn has stated that AJ’s preparations for his US debut are still going ahead. Below are five potential replacements that could fill in for ‘Big Baby’ next month:
Germany-based Syrian Manuel Charr has already claimed that his team have been contacted by Joshua’s people and says “internal negotiations” are currently taking place for him to replace Miller.
The 34-year-old last fought for a genuine world title way back in 2012 when his challenge for Vitali Klitschko’s WBC crown was halted in 4 rounds. Three defeats in his last eight outings against opponents such as Mairis Breidis, Johann Duhaupas and former-Joshua foe Alexander Povetkin is pretty uninspiring.
Unfortunately, this is shaping up to be the most likely option.
The two have already faced off twice in the ring, once in the amateurs and once in the pros, and there’s clearly a genuine animosity between the two Brits - a rematch between these two would be much better than the Miller fight.
Whyte has already said he’ll jump in at short notice to fight AJ if Miller is ruled out in June but given the complications getting these back in the ring together recently, you should take that with a pinch of salt.
Another reason why this might not work is that it’s meant to be the fight that attracts the US fight fans to Joshua - Whyte doesn’t do that. This British beef deserves to be at Wembley not in New York.
The big Cuban has been around the heavyweight scene for a while now and though the 40-year-old isn’t quite the force he once was, he’s still very dangerous.
It would be a massive shock if Anthony Joshua’s people threw him in against an awkward southpaw at such short notice and Ortiz showed against Wilder (his only pro defeat), he can give any heavyweight a torrid shift on his night.
Ranked number 10 by the IBF, 12th by the WBA and unrated by the WBO, Michael Hunter isn’t the most thrilling option out there.
Hunter has campaigned at cruiserweight for the bulk of his 17 fight career and can count Martin Bakole as probably his biggest win at heavyweight.
A talented boxer by all means but levels below Anthony Joshua. Hard pass.
An interesting pick and one that makes sense on AJ’s US debut. Poland-born Kownacki calls Brooklyn his home and is a popular face among New York’s fight scene.
Undefeated after 19 fights and carrying 79% KO ratio, his résumé is better than some other names on this shortlist and has the potential to bring a good atmosphere with him to Madison Square Gardens. A good fighter but is he ready to make the step up to world level against AJ?