Anthony Joshua vs. Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller a done deal for June 1 at MSG
By Mike Smith: It’s now official that Anthony Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs) will be making his next defense against unbeaten American Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller (23-0-1, 20 KOs) across the pond on DAZN on June 1 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
On June 1, Joshua will be marching into ‘The Mecca of Boxing in New York to take on an American in a showcase fight in front of U.S fans at the historic Madison Square Garden. It’s an opportunity for Joshua to win over fans in the United States by putting on a good performance. It’s obviously not the opponent that Joshua , 29, needed for him to make a lot of noise fighting in America. Joshua needs to face WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder or someone like Luis Ortiz. The negotiations for a Joshua vs. Wilder fight never materialized. Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn complained that Wilder’s management never responded to his attempts at putting the Joshua-Wilder fight together. Hearn revealed that he would only give Wilder a 60-40 split for the Joshua fight, when he was asking for a 50-50 deal.
Joshua vs. Miller will be sold on PPV on Sky Box Office in the UK. A lot of British boxing fans won’t be too happy at paying to see Joshua in what amounts to be a mismatch, but all of AJ’s fights are now on PPV in the UK, so this is now the norm. What some fans might not like is the 315 pound Miller is arguably a step down in quality from Joshua’s last two opponents Alexander Povetkin and Joseph Parker. The fans want to see Joshua fight increasingly better opposition with each fight, not go downward against a fighter with a weight problem and an inflated resume of mostly weak opposition.
It’ll be Joshua’s debut in the U.S against one of their better heavyweights. This will be Joshua’s seventh defense of his International Boxing Federation title he won three years ago against Charles Martin.
“The time has come to head across the Atlantic and defend my heavyweight titles in the USA,” Joshua said.
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing had this to say about the fight:
“Press conference in NYC next week it’s Britain 🇬🇧 and Ireland 🇮🇪 v The World The Garden on June 1 – massive fight card on the way 👀👌🏼@Sky Sports Boxing @ DAZN_USA.”
FIRST FACE OFF 👀
It started back in July 2018…
— Matchroom Boxing (@MatchroomBoxing) February 13, 2019
The news of the Joshua vs. Miller fight has come with mixed reaction from the boxing fans, in particular AJ’s die hard fans. While some of the fans are excited about Joshua fighting in the United States for the first time against an unbeaten American in 30-year-old Miller, many other people see the fight as another example of Anthony milking his IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles against a guy that is nowhere near the same talent level as him. In other words, this is another mismatch for Joshua to look good in. What hurts the Joshua-Miller fight from looking legitimate is the reality that Miller is co-promoted by Hearn. The New Yorker is one of Eddie’s Matchroom Boxing USA stable fighters, so it gives the appearance that he’s sticking an over-matched fighter in there with Joshua just because he promotes the guy, and it enables him to have full control of the promotion by making this fight. There’s no sharing involved with an outside promoter.
Miller is getting this title shot after beating these heavyweights: Tomasz Adamek, Gerald Washington, Fred Kassi, Bogdan Dinu, Mariusz Wach and Johann Duhaupas. Those are by far the best of the bunch that Miller has beaten for him to earn the title shot against Joshua on June 1. That’s a pretty weak bunch of heavyweights, but that’s how things have been for Miller. Since Hearn signed Miller several fights ago, he’s beaten Bogdan Dinu, 42-year-old Tomasz Adamek and Johann Duhaupas. The boxing fans wanted to see Hearn match Miller up against Luis ‘King Kong’ Ortiz or Dillian Whyte to see if he’s for real, but he opted to put him in with safer opposition instead.
The 6’4″ Miller has good size for a heavyweight, but his weight makes very slow and stationary, which is not a good thing for a Joshua to be. It’s going to make Miller a sitting duck on June 1. If Miller’s chin isn’t up to snuff in this fight, he’s going to get banged out almost immediately. Joshua won’t look good if this fight isn’t at least somewhat competitive. If Joshua rolls over the 315 lb Miller like a Sherman tank, it’s going to be a bad look for him. At the same time, if Joshua struggles to beat Miller, he’s going to get heavily criticized y the boxing public. In other words, it’s a lose-lose situation for Joshua to be fighting Miller instead of a better heavyweight like Whyte, Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury, Kubrat Pulev or Luis Ortiz. Even someone like Joe Joyce would be preferable for a fight against Joshua than Miller in the minds of a lot of fans. That’s how badly they rate Miller. He’s not rated highly by fans.
“June 1st, I am heading to ‘The Big Apple’ and I plan to embrace the culture and leave with an appetite for more,” said Joshua via skysports.com. “I will be fighting Jarrell Miller at the legendary Madison Square Garden.”
Joshua, 6’6″, caught the fever of how much excitement that be generated at Madison Square Garden in New York when he recently attended the Saul Canelo Alvarez vs. Rocky Fielding fight two months ago on December 15. Despite the fight being a horrible mismatch from the word go, there was a tremendous amount of noise inside MSG on the night, and Joshua seemed to love it. The way that Madison Square Garden is built, the audience is seemingly on top of the fighters with the seats high up close to the ring. The fans can see the action really well, and creates a lot of excitement.
“I plan on dismantling Miller in style to make my mark,” Joshua said. “I am looking forward to taking on another challenge with a good boxer and a brilliant talker.”
Miller’s gift for talking is what Hearn is hoping will attract interest from American boxing fans. Miller is a good talker, and he’s excellent at promoting his fights with his sound bites, as well as his theatrics. As long as Miller make up for Joshua’s often emotionless flat effect and the way he often has very little to say, the promotion could do well. It’s going to take a lot of effort from Miller to try and draw Joshua out to get him to react in a way that’s natural. It’ll look bad if Joshua is like a statue in front of Miller at the press conferences, and not saying more than a handful of rehearsed words. The American boxing fans want to see someone that can themselves, and who aren’t holding back. That way of behaving is completely alien to Joshua, who is very dignified and under control of his emotions at all times. If Joshua doesn’t help Miller out in the promotion of the fight by being more than a statue, the promotion will do poorly. Miller is a great talker, to be sure, but he can’t build the fight all by himself. He’ll need help from Joshua.
Hearn says there’s a “massive fight card on the way” for the undercard, but that’s more likely to be the case for the UK boxing fans. Hearn will likely put a lot of British fighters on the undercard in hopes of attracting more PPV buys on Sky Box Office in the UK. Hearn doesn’t have a lot of U.S fighters signed to his Matchroom Boxing USA stable, and the ones he does have, he features them as main events for his cards. Putting Brandon Rios on the undercard of Joshua vs. Miller won’t interest American fans. Hearn has got to put relevant fighters from the U.S on the Joshua vs. Miller undercard if he wants to help attract more interest in the card. Placing shot fighters on the card won’t do it. Jessie Vargas isn’t a big enough name either. Hearn needs to sign better fighters to his stable to get fans to want to subscribe to DAZN to see guys like Joshua fight.