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THE unified WBO, WBA and IBF heavyweight champion of the world Anthony Joshua is coming to America. On June 1 Joshua will take on Brooklyn’s Jarrell Miller at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Miller has an unremarkable track record. He is an unbeaten 23-0-1 (20), the draw coming against Joey Dawejko in 2013. Over the last two years Miller has racked up wins over Gerald Washington, Mariusz Wach, Johann Duhaupas, Tomasz Adamek and Bogdan Dinu. He has not however boxed in a world title eliminator.
Nor was Miller originally the plan. Joshua did have Wembley stadium in London booked for an April 13 bout, eyeing a contest with local rival Dillian Whyte if a showdown with either Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury could not be made. Negotiations for those bouts were unsuccessful and the April 13 date at Wembley was ultimately scrapped.
But even if Miller is Joshua’s fourth choice opponent, this fight in New York, broadcast on DAZN in the US and Sky Sports Box Office in the UK, will still be the biggest payday in the heavyweight champion’s career so far. Given that he would have made about £20 million for fighting Dillian Whyte in the UK, Joshua might well be receiving a startling sum of around $30 million for making this journey across the Atlantic. Whyte was expected to make about $6 million for a Joshua fight that didn’t happen, expect Jarrell Miller to be the lucky recipient of that windfall.
“If we’re going to make him a big star in America this is the perfect moment and the perfect timing for him and obviously with the TV deals available and everything else, the revenue means that this is a no-brainer for us but he would prefer to still be fighting at Wembley on April 13 but we’ve got to a stage where it now looks like the right thing to do [to go to America],” Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn said. “It’s not just DAZN, it’s Sky Sports Box Office, it’s MSG, it’s international TV.
“Every marketing exec, PR specialist, they’ve always said, ‘You have to fight in America.’ But we’re not obsessed with that. Now the timing just appears to be right.”
Hearn also sees it as an opportunity for Joshua to gain ground on Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury in the American market. “He’s the biggest star in the sport [in global terms]. But in America his profile is quite small to be honest with you. Fury and Wilder’s profile was the same size before their fight. Now Fury and Wilder’s profile has probably outgrown Joshua’s out there although Joshua’s had the same benefit in America that they’ve had in the UK by just being involved in that conversation,” Hearn said. “I’m very, very excited. I think it’s brilliant. The plans that I’ve got to create a weekend of boxing in New York with British fighters, Irish fighters on the card, fighting Americans it’s going to be really, really special.
“From an egotistical point of view I’ve always wanted to promote a fight at Madison Square Garden. So to see our British heavyweight [world champion] go over there, fight an American, fill up Madison Square Garden arena, I’m all for it.”