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Joshua puts together 5-man list for Miller replacement

Anthony Joshua

By Tim Royner: Anthony Joshua has put together a short list of five names consisting of Luis “King Kong” Ortiz, Kubrat Pulev, Michael Hunter, Manuel Charr and Adam Kownacki to pick from for a potential replacement opponent or Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller for his June 1 test following the American fighter’s positive test for the banned substance GW1516. Joshua wants to keep the June 1 date, with or without “Big Baby” Miller.

The Daily Mail reveals the below list is the five fighters Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs) will be looking to pick from to select his June 1 opponent for his fight on DAZN and Sky Box Office at Madison Square Garden in New York:

– Luis Ortiz

– Adam Kownacki

– Manuel Charr

– Kubrat Pulev

– Michael Hunter

By far, Ortiz is the best option of the bunch for Miller. The talented former Cuban amateur star gave WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder a tough fight last year, and almost beat him. Some boxing fans believe Ortiz would have knocked Wilder out if the start of the eighth round wasn’t delayed by the New York Commission, who wanted to checkout Wilder after he’d been badly hurt by Ortiz in the seventh round. Wilder was on shaky legs when he walked over to be examined before the start of the eighth round. Ortiz would likely beat everyone on Joshua’s five man shortlist. The Cuban has the most talent. He’s a southpaw though, and Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn has never been excited about wanting him to fight him. Although Hearn often mentions Ortiz’s name as a potential opponent for his fighters Joshua and Dillian Whyte, he always picks out lesser fighters to have them fight.

In addition to Joshua’s short five-fighter list, Dillian Whyte (25-1, 18 KOs) has thrown his name into the hat as a replacement for Miller on June 1, according to Talksport. Whyte, 30, would be willing to step in to take the fight. However, hammering out a deal with Whyte could prove to take too much time due to his likely purse requirements. Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn attempted to put together a deal with Whyte for a fight against Joshua recently, but Whyte rejected it. One would assume that Whyte would want a better deal than the one Hearn offered him previously for him to take the fight with Joshua on June 1. Joshua and Hearn are obviously in a position of weakness with Miller testing positive for a banned substance with less than eight weeks to go before the June 1 fight. Regardless, Joshua and Hearn likely won’t sweeten the previous offer to Whyte substantially just because of Miller dropping out. The problem with Whyte getting the fight is he’s an unknown with the casual boxing fans in the U.S. As such, he would be a big drop off from Miller, who isn’t a big name either in the States.

Whyte would be a good option for Joshua if this fight were to take place in England, but definitely not in the U.S. Whyte would be a poor replacement for Miller. Joshua would do better if he were to fight Luis Ortiz, Kownacki and possibly Hunter. The casual fans don’t now who Hunter is, and Kownacki is a guy that has been tucked away on undercards, out of eyesight of most U.S fans. He could be less desirable replacement or Miller as well.

It’s believed that the highly ranked Luis Ortiz (31-1, 26 KOs) is at the top of the list of potential opponents followed by Adam Kownacki (19-0, 15 KOs). Those two make a lot of sense, as they’ve been been shown on television in the U.S off an on in recent years, and the hardcore boxing fans in the country are familiar with them.

Pulev, 37, has also recently had a fight shown in the U.S in a mismatch against Bogdan Dinu, but he might not be the best option rigth about now given some recent problems he had after his last fight. Charr is an unknown in the eyes of U.S boxing fans, so he would be a poor replacement. Hunter is from the U.S, and fought in the 2012 Olympics, but he’s new to the heavyweight division and has only had two fights in that weight class.

The 30-year-old Miller’s positive test for the banned WADA substance GW1516 came from a urine sample from a test on March 20. What’s interesting is Miller had recently accused Joshua of having used performance enhancing drugs in the past, and now this happens to him.

“We are in the process of obtaining further information about VADA’s finding and will have more to say soon on this developing situation,” Miller’s co-promoter Dmitriy Salita said to “In the meantime, Jarrell continues to train for his June 1 fight against Anthony Joshua.”

If Miller is removed from the June 1 card, he’ll lose out on his huge $4.75 million payday that he was set to get for the Joshua fight. By far that would be Miller’s biggest payday he’s earned during his 10 year pro career. The $4.75 million is just the money Miller would make from his guaranteed purse for the fight. Miller would make more money from percentage he would get from the revenue the fight brings in from Sky Box Office in the UK, according to ESPN. Miller would also earn $3 million from his 2 fights after the Joshua match from DAZN if he were to lose. Miller will potentially lose that money as well. Overall, it could be a major blow to Miller’s career if he misses out on the Joshua fight.

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