Hearn says Joshua taking risk facing Miller in NY
By Scott Gilfoid: Anthony Joshua is going to be risking a lot in leaving his creature comforts of fighting in front of huge stadiums in the UK to facing unbeaten Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller in front of a pro-Miller crowd on June 1 at the ‘Mecca of Boxing’ at Madison Square Garden, New York, according to Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn.
Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs) is used to fighting in front of his own fans in the UK, and now he’s going to have to making a mental adjustment in fighting in front of an audience that won’t like him 100 percent like he’s accustomed to. Joshua is a fighter that does well when he’s got the crowd behind him. We saw that in his win over Wladimir Klitschko in 2017. Without the crowd cheering Joshua on and bringing him back into the fight in the 10th, he probably would have lost that fight. The crowd won’t be there for Joshua against Miller. Hearn believes there will be a few thousand Brits that will come over to New York to root him on, but they’ll be drowned out by the many thousands of Miller supporters.
“It is a risky affair, in that respect, because he is used to his home comforts – 90,000 at Wembley and 80,000 at the Principality Stadium a couple of times each,” Hearn said to skysports.com. “It is a tough fight…He is going into Miller’s backyard. Miller is from Brooklyn. He is going to have big support, and he has a big mouth.”
There is risk there for Joshua, 29, against a durable, volume puncher like Miller. If Miller can get Joshua into a dog fight, he could wear him down quickly with his fast pace style of fighting, and knock him out. Of all the fighters that Joshua has faced during his still young six-year pro career, Miller has the best engine, and he’s by far the best volume puncher he’ll have faced. Joshua gassed out after only two rounds in his fight against Dillian Whyte in 2015, and after six rounds against Wladimir Klitschko in 2017. It took Joshua at least three rounds in both fights before he got his second wind.
Luckily for Joshua, Klitschko and Whyte didn’t step on the gas to try and finish him off. Whyte would have, but he suffered a shoulder injury in the 2nd round, and he gassed out himself. Wladimir didn’t have the courage to try and finish Joshua off after the sixth. Wladimir decided to play it safe by boxing Joshua after he had him hurt in round 6. It was a big mistake on Wladimir’s part. Miller doesn’t lack courage or stamina. If Joshua gets Joshua gassed out, he’ll look to finish him as quickly as possible.
Miller is a rare breed of heavyweight, a fighter capable of throwing 80 to 100 heavy punches per round without tiring. If Joshua is unable to keep Miller off of him, he’s not going to last very long with him. The large pro-Miller crowd is going to have him fighting with even more energy on the night. Hearn is right. This is a very risky fight for Joshua, but not just because of him being away from the safe confines of the UK. It’s because of the way Miller fights. He’s the wrong type of heavyweight for a a fighter with major stamina problems like Joshua.
Some of Joshua’s boxing fans believe he’s improved his conditioning since trimming down from 250 to 245 lbs. However, Joshua looked tired in his last fight against 39-year-old Alexander Povetkin last September. There was no real improvement in Joshua’s stamina. He won the fight because he was small old guy in 6’2″ Povetkin instead of a bigger, younger fighter with the youth, engine and size to give him problems.
Miller is that fighter, and it’s going to be a very risky fight for Joshua. If he loses, all his and his promoter Hearn’s dreams of a big money match against Tyson Fury or Deontay Wilder will go down the drain. Joshua would need to face Miller in a rematch, and there would be the potential of losing a second fight to ‘Big Baby’ in New York or perhaps in the UK. If Joshua loses two fights in a row to Miller, his career is going to downhill right on the spot. Joshua will go from being considered the best heavyweight on the planet, in Hearn’s estimation, and just another fighter that was a product of hype and soft match-making by his British promoter. What we’ve seen thus far of Joshua is he’s a long ways away from fellow Brit Lennox Lewis. Joshua doesn’t have that kind of talent, and Hearn likely recognizes that, which why we haven’t seen him fight Wilder, Fury, Luis Ortiz or Whyte in a rematch.
There will be a news conference next week to make the official announcement of the Joshua vs. Miller fight. Hearn expects a lot of excitement during the press conference.
The undercard is still yet to be announced, but Hearn is hoping to get the following fights on the card:
– Khalid Yafai vs. Donnie Nietes
– Tommy Coyle vs. Chris Algieri
– Ramundo Beltran vs. Ricky Burns [rematch]
– Josh Kelly vs. TBA
There are some interesting fight that Hearn has his eyes on, especially the Yafai vs. Nietes fight. Kelly could be an interesting addition if Hearn puts him in with a good opponent. This would be a good chance for a lot of American fans to get a first glimpse of the unbeaten Kelly. However, Hearn won’t do Kelly any good if he puts him in with just a body instead of a quality fighter that the boxing fans are familiar with.
Joshua wants to unify the heavyweight division in 2019, but it could be Miller that accomplishes that goal if he beats AJ on June 1, and then moves on to take on the winner of the Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury rematch. Hearn thinks he’s got a beatable opponent for Joshua to fight in the 315 pound Miller, but this could blow up in his face if he runs out of petrol and winds up getting stopped. Hearn’s #1 money fighter in his Matchroom Boxing stable if Joshua. If his career tanks, Hearn will be in a bad way with an exposed heavyweight, no longer seen as the guy that he once. Hearn will have to throw money someone like Gennady Golovkin or one of the other fighters that have talent in order to replace Joshua as a pay-per-view guy in the UK. There aren’t any fighters that can make the money that Joshua is making in the UK right now. The British boxing fans are sold on Joshua because he won a gold medal in the 2012 London Olympics, and they see his win over 40-year-old Wladimir Klitchko as validating him as the best heavyweight in the division in their minds. If Miller knocks Joshua off his high horse, then Hearn is going to be crying crocodile tears at the lost money. It’s going to be bad for Joshua, and especially Hearn, because he doesn’t have anyone to replace him as his next moneymaker in his Matchroom stable. Putting Joshua in with Miller a second time could be the blunder of the century if AJ loses.