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Anthony Joshua vs. Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller possible for Spring in New York

Image: Anthony Joshua vs. Jarrell 'Big Baby' Miller possible for Spring in New York

By Tim Royner: Anthony Joshua’s next fight could take place against American Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller next in the Spring in New York, and not on April 13, according to Mike Coppinger. Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs) would move off his originally scheduled fight on April 13 at Wembley Stadium in London, England, and instead face the unbeaten American Miller in the spring in New York.

This isn’t surprising news though, as Joshua’s options for his April 13 fight are dismal at the moment due to WBC champion Deontay Wilder likely to face Tyson Fury in an immediate rematch in early 2019. Joshua would likely a big name like Wilder or Fury to sellout the 90,000 seat Wembley Stadium. Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn had spoken about having Dillian Whyte as the Plan-B for AJ to fight on April 13, but the boxing public in the UK are not super excited at seeing a rematch between those two on April 13. It’s a good fight, but not the type of fight that sells out a large stadium like Wembley. In the future, Hearn needs to wait he has a signed contract for Joshua against Wilder before he books large stadium like Wembley. Simply booking it ahead of time in hopes that Wilder just fall in and agree to take the fight for the flat fee offers that are being made to him was foolish.

Hearn needs to make sure he’s got the fight with Wilder signed next time before he looks to book a big stadium in the UK. It appears that Hearn booked Wembley Stadium thinking that Wilder would agree to the flat fee offer that had been given him for a September Joshua-Wilder fight, which never took place. The reason why it didn’t is because Hearn abruptly ended the negotiations with Wilder and had Joshua fight 39-year-old Alexander Povetkin on September 22. This angered Wilder, who decided that he wasn’t going to agree to anymore flat fee offers, and that he wanted a 50-50 deal from that point on.

Coppinger had this to say on his Twitter:

Miller, 30, is an admirable choice for Joshua’s next fight. At least Miller is unbeaten, and he’s someone that the U.S boxing fans are familiar with. Whyte (24-1 17 KOs) is only known among the hardcore boxing fans in the States, and most of them see him as the guy that was knocked out by Joshua in 2015, and then was involved two controversial decisions against Dereck Chisora in 2016 and Joseph Parker last July. Whyte could have lost both of those fights with the right type of judging, and a good referee that keeps his eyes open and knows when to waive off a knockdown that is caused by a clash of heads.

Joshua was on hand last Saturday night for Saul Canelo Alvarez’s fight against WBA ‘regular’ super middleweight champion Rocky Fielding at the sold out Madison Square Garden in New York. There were over 20,000 boxing fans present for the Canelo-Fielding fight, and the atmosphere was electric. Joshua commanded himself about how impressed he was with the amount of fans and the energy at Madison Square Garden in New York. The way that MSG is built, the fans are right on top of the action, and their screaming energizes the fighters. That’s the type of thing that Joshua loves. He thrives on the fans applause, and he uses that for motivation.

The best way for Joshua to build himself into a household name is to come over to New York and fight ‘Big Baby’ Miller in the spring. That’ll help attract a lot of interest in a fight between Wilder and Joshua for later in 2019 or 2020, depending on what goes down with the Wilder-Fury 2 rematch next year. There’s no other way for Joshua to increase his popularity in a hurry in the United States other than by fighting there against one of their best fighters. Miller probably isn’t as good as Luis ‘King Kong’ Ortiz, who now lives in the U.S, but he’s a good talker, and he would help promote the Joshua fight with the casual boxing fans to make it a bigger match. If Joshua were to stay in the UK and fight Whyte in a domestic dust up, the only fans that would care about that are his fans in the UK. American casual boxing fans wouldn’t find out about the Joshua vs. Whyte 2 fight, as it’s not something that they would take time out in their busy lives to know about. As far as the casual fans go in the U.S, they’ve mostly never heard of Joshua or Whyte.

Miller will help Joshua earn the respect of the American fans. Even if Joshua barely wins, and has to get off the deck once or twice in the fight, he’ll get a lot of attention from the fans that have never seen him fight before. That in turn will help him get the Wilder fight that he so badly craves.

Fighting Miller is still not going to help Joshua get the fight against Deontay Wilder. For the Joshua-Wilder fight to happen, Joshua and his promoter Eddie Hearn are going to need to either meet Wilder’s demand of a 50-50 purse split of the revenue or come very close to that number. As of Sunday, Joshua was still talking about offering Wilder a flat fee for the fight with him. Joshua said that Wilder would make double his largest purse, but he would be given just a flat fee. It was a strange interview, as Joshua seemed to feel that Wilder would change his mind about not wanting a flat fee once he saw how much was being offered to him by his promoter Eddie Hearn. Joshua sounded very naive during the interview. He didn’t seem understand that Wilder will never agree to a flat fee, as the fight could make over $100 million. If Wilder accepts a flat fee for $15 million to $20 million, then equates to Joshua getting an 85-15 to 80-20 split in terms of a percentage deal. That’s not even as good as the 67-33 split that former WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker was given for a fight against Joshua last March. Once again, fighting Miller will help Joshua’s popularity in the United States, but it won’t get Wilder to cave in and agree to the flat fee offers that AJ and Hearn want him to agree to. That’s not happening.

Tyson Fury put Joshua to shame in the eyes of some boxing fans in going over to the United States to challenge the unbeaten Wilder (40-0-1, 39 KOs) for his World Boxing Council heavyweight title earlier this month on December 1 on SHOWTIME PPV at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. Fury said that Joshua had made the UK look bad by not taking the fight with Wilder, so he felt it was his duty to represent his country by going over to the U.S to face Deontay. Fury didn’t care that he was the underdog, and that many felt he was going to be knocked out by Wilder. He just wanted to show that wasn’t afraid to take a loss if he had to. Fury ended up doing a splendid job of out-boxing Wilder for the most of the fight until getting dropped twice in the late rounds. The knockdowns hurt Fury’s chances of winning the fight, so he had to settle for a 12 round split draw.

The courage that Fury showed in taking on Wilder in his home country and was admirable. Even though Fury didn’t get the win, his popularity has spiked through the roof, as he’s now seen as the uncrowned champion, and his fans in the UK are pleased with his efforts. It was a great performance and an incredible show of courage by Fury. Joshua has been put in a place where he needs to follow Fury’s lead if he wants to be seen in the same light. Joshua staying in England to fight a guy that he already knocked out previously in Whyte would have been viewed as a weak move by the boxing fans.

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