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Pulev & Kownacki ruled out for Joshua fight on June 1

Anthony Joshua Kubrat Pulev Adam Kownacki DAZN Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller Luis Ortiz

By Tim Royner: Adam Kownacki and Kubrat Pulev have both been ruled out as replacements to fight IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua in place of Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller (30-0-1, 23 KOs) after he was pulled from the June 1 card following his positive test for a banned substance.


Pulev’s promoter Bob Arum said to Boxing Social that he’s still suspended after his kissing incident after his recent victory over Bogdan Dinu. Pulev will have a hearing in mid-May. Arum might be saving Pulev for Tyson Fury, who he signed recently to his Top Rank company. Fury needs opponents in the worst way.

If Arum feeds Pulev to Joshua, then he’ll be losing out on a potential guy to put in there with Fury in the near future. Pulev would probably be better off fighting Joshua than Fury, because the fight would be shown on Sky Box Office in the UK, and there would be good money to be made on that. If Pulev could be the one getting $10 million for a fight against Joshua instead of Big Baby Miller, he would likely be very happy with that kind of green.

As far as Kownwacki goes, he says he won’t be ready in time to fight Joshua on June 1, according to Garnetkmedia.


Having Pulev and Kownacki off his list of potential replacements for Joshua might not be a bad thing after all for Hearn, because he seems to be leaning in the direction of using one of his own fighters from his Matchroom stable as the replacement. Hearn seems to fancy the idea of Michael Hunter or Dillian Whyte taking the fight with Joshua. With Pulev and Kownacki now off the list, the pickings are getting mighty slim for Hearn to pick from for Joshua. I don’t think that bothers Hearn in the least, because he seems to be dialed in already in losing at Whyte and Hunter.

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Here’s the current list of Hearn fighters that he’s considering for AJ to fight on June 1:

– Luis Ortiz


– Manuel Charr

– Michael Hunter

– Joseph Parker

Believe it or not, Hearn mentioned Parker and Charr as potential opponents for Joshua. That’s how bad things are. Talk about a blow it move on Hearn’s part. I don’t think Hearn would be crazy enough to use Parker or Charr for Joshua’s June 1 fight, but you never know. If you take Charr and Parker off the list, and then remove Ortiz as well, that leaves only Michael Hunter. Hearn said he was told by Ortiz’s management that they didn’t think he would be ready by June 1. As such, Ortiz, Parker, Kownacki and Charr are unlikely to get the fight. The only one left is Hunter. How disappointing, but it’s all good for Hearn, because he promotes him and he’s not a threat to beating Joshua.

Hearn thinks that just because Hunter is an American, and 2012 U.S Olympian that the boxing fans in the United States are familiar with him. Wrong. They don’t know who Hunter is. The days of the masses in the U.S amateur boxing are long gone. Back in the 1970s when amateur boxing was shown on free television, yeah, the Americans would follow it. That’s how Sugar Ray Leonard became a star after winning a gold medal in the 1976 Olympics. That’s how Leon and Michael Spinks became big names in the U.S by competing on the 1976 Olympic team and medaling. Nowadays it’s different. Hunter isn’t known by the fans in the U.S. He wouldn’t be a good option for Joshua to fight.

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If he picks Charr or Parker, it might be a ghost town at Madison Square Garden on the night. The place could be deserted if he makes the blunder of selecting one of them. I’d like to think that Joshua would speak up and let Hearn know that he’s not interested in those mismatches, but he’d probably let Hearn make the decision.

If Hearn wants to make the fans happy, he’s almost got to pick Luis Ortiz. If he picks anyway else, it’s going to look too much like he’s protecting Joshua from getting beaten. Putting Joshua in with one of his own fighters like Hunter or Whyte would appear to be a self-serving move on Hearn’s part to keep the fight in house so he doesn’t need to share with an outside promoter. If Joshua can’t beat Ortiz, who is 40-years-old, then that’s a sad statement about him. Ortiz has been trying to get a fight against Joshua for the last three years without any luck. Right now, this is the perfect situation for Ortiz to fight him. If Hearn chooses a lesser heavyweight like Hunter, it would look like he’s not confident in Joshua to do the job on the talented Cuban. If Joshua is as good as Hearn says he is, he should be counted on to be able to fight and beat guys like Ortiz.

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