LOS ANGELES — Anthony Joshua is slated for an April 13 heavyweight championship defense at Wembley Stadium in London, but those plans could change.
Joshua (22-0, 21 knockouts) is contemplating bypassing another hometown title tilt for a springtime fight in New York against Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller, sources told The Ring. Joshua is a superstar in the U.K., where he holds several major endorsement deals (Beats by Dre and Under Armour among them), but he’s yet to make a name for himself in the U.S.
A stateside debut would greatly enhance the 29-year-old’s standing in the American sports scene, and potentially set him up for a fall unification showdown with either Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury. They’re expected to rematch in the spring. World Boxing News first reported the possibility of Joshua-Miller in New York this spring.
Miller (23-0-1, 20 KOs) would be a major underdog, but he shouldn’t be disregarded. The Ring’s No. 8 heavyweight is one of the most active world-class fighters in the sport, and he seems to improve with each outing.
The hulking Brooklynite, who routinely weighs over 300 pounds, packs a high-volume style and power in both fists. “Big Baby” is also one of boxing’s most colorful characters. He’s long lobbied for a crack at Joshua. His tremendous charisma makes him the perfect foil for Joshua’s first foray in the U.S.
“He’s definitely hiding from some of the big names in the division,” Miller, 30, told The Ring earlier this month. He’s in England this week for Dillian Whyte-Dereck Chisora 2. “He’s not taking high-risk fights right now. Plain and simple, he has to step up sooner or later.”
“[He’d] get knocked out. I honestly believe I’d wear him out and beat him up,” Miller continued. “He gets tired [inside] four, five, six rounds. Wladimir [Klitschko] had him out and Wladimir gave him two rounds to breathe. I’m not doing that. Once I’m on you, it’s like a fly on shit. You’re going to get flushed.”
Miller’s co-promoter, Dmitry Salita, insists the 6-foot-4 heavyweight is the most avoided fighter in boxing’s glamour division. Salita is now teaming up with Joshua promoter, Eddie Hearn, to guide Miller; his last two fights have appeared on DAZN. Miller is likely to fight on the platform again on January 18 in New York, possibly against Trevor Bryan.
“Sometimes people criticize his size and his weight, but the incredible thing is that he’s so fast and he’s able to use his size and his weight to his advantage,” Salita told The Ring. “If Joshua fights him, Jarrell will be a big tank in front of him.”
Joshua still could fight on April 13 in the U.K., but after attending Canelo Alvarez’s third-round TKO of Rocky Fielding on Saturday at Madison Square Garden, the Brit became enamored of fighting in the Big Apple. A bout in New York would give Miller, not the winner of Whyte-Chisora 2, the upper hand at securing the lucrative showdown.
A third victory in four months could vault Miller into his first world title opportunity, a fight against The Ring’s No. 1 heavyweight.
“[Joshua] knows that he’s going to go to hell fighting me. There’s no easy way out,” Miller said. … “I’m a different breed, man. Nobody throw combinations like me. I think I got the best head movement in the game. Best output in the game. Some of the best power in the game. Best headshots in the game. Plain and simple, everytime I fight, people see an improvement.
“I throw way more punches than [Alexander] Povetkin, I think I throw harder shots than Povetkin, and I come forward; I’m bigger than Povetkin. If he’s having problems with a guy like that over the first four or five rounds, I get stronger as the fight goes on. Once I get the timing down, it’s over. I’m just a mean guy.”
Mike Coppinger is the Senior Writer for RingTV.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger
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