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Arum says Tyson Fury vs. Jarrell Miller discussion is premature

Tyson Fury

By Tim Royner: Promoter Bob Arum says it’s premature for Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller to be talked about as the next opponent for lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury right now due to the American fighter’s boxing license having been revoked following a positive drug test.

Arum says he thinks a fight between Fury (28-0, 20 KOs) and the unbeaten Miller (23-0-1, 20 KOs) would be an interesting affair, but it’s “silly” to discuss the fight given Miller’s boxing license having been revoked.

Possible options for Fury’s next fight

Fury will be fighting next in New York, possibly in October, according to Arum. There haven’t been any names mentioned for Fury’s next fight, but some believe it could be Bryant Jennings if he wins his next fight against Joe Joyce on July 13. Former heavyweight world title challenger Kubrat Pulev (27-1, 13 KOs) is likely too risky of a fight for Fury. Pulev’s name has been mentioned as well as a potential option for Fury.

These are likely potential options for Fury’s next fight:

  • Agit Kabayel
  • Bryant Jennings
  • Tyrone Spong
  • Robert Helenius
  • Zhilei Zhang
  • Junior Fa
  • Kyotara Fujimoto
  • Otto Wallin

Top Rank doesn’t want Fury to lose before he faces WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder in a rematch in 2020. They’re paying Fury too much money for him to get beaten by a quality contender like the 38-year-old Pulev. For that reason, Fury will probably be matched against another highly ranked contender on the level of Tom Schwarz. The World Boxing Organization unbelievably had Schwarz ranked #2 at the time Fury fought him on June 15.  Schwarz was woefully bad in getting stopped in the second round.

The match-maker for Top Rank should have realized how poor Schwarz would be, and not made that fight. It was obvious from watching some of Schwarz’s past fights that he would make Fury look bad. A fighter gains popularity when he blows out a quality guy that looks good. You don’t look when the guy you’re matched against is dreadfully bad like Schwarz was against Fury. That move backfired on Top Rank, which is why they need to find someone good for Fury to fight in his next match.

Jarrell Miller blew his chance for Joshua fight

Miller had been signed to challenge former IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua on June 1 at Madison Square Garden in New York. However, Miller tested positive for several banned substances that resulted in him being pulled out of the fight. Andy Ruiz Jr. was brought in as the replacement for Miller, and the rest is history. Ruiz Jr. stopped Joshua in the seventh round to become the new IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight champion. Miller, 30, missed out on a huge $6.5 million payday against Joshua. As bad as Joshua looked against Ruiz, Miller would have had a decent chance of beating him as well.

Arum not sure how long Miller’s drug revocation will take to clear up

“Miller is still under suspension, and actually it’s not a suspension. They revoked his license, because of the drug testing because he formally hadn’t signed a New York State boxing contract for the fight with [Anthony] Joshua,” said Arum to IFL TV. “So, I don’t know how long it’ll take to clear up Miller’s situation. While Miller remains a non-participant, because of the revocation of his license, I think it’s silly to talk about him being an opponent for Tyson Fury or anybody else right now; not that if he wasn’t free and clear that it wouldn’t be an interesting fight. I think that’s all premature. We have to speak to Tyson Fury about it,” said Arum.

With the money that Top Rank is paying the 6’9″ Fury, it’s important that Arum and his promotional company find a good enough opponent to attract the U.S boxing fans to want to see him fight. Fury’s recent fight against little known German heavyweight Tom Schwarz (24-1, 16 KOs) reportedly  pulled in a little over 6,000 fans at the gate. Now that the fans know how Fury is being matched, they’re not going to be willing to watch his next fight unless Top Rank gets a clue and puts him in with a live body this time.

The American fans aren’t interested in seeing mismatches involving obscure fighters. Unfortunately, they see enough mismatches as it is involving known fighters. Arum thought Fury could win over the U.S fans with his personality alone for his recent fight against Schwarz  on June 15. He found out the hard way that fans aren’t interested in seeing Fury fight little known guys. They want him to fight Wilder, Dillian Whyte, Andy Ruiz Jr. or Anthony Joshua.

Fury was set to fight Wilder earlier this year until Top Rank signed a co-promotional deal with him, and pulled him out of the fight. Arum wants to make Fury popular by putting him in winnable fights before sticking him in with Wilder for a rematch. However, there is no cheap way of making a fighter popular nowadays. A promoter must match a fighter against quality opposition, and Top Rank blew it by matching Fury against a soft job in Schwarz.

“Everything is in the state of flux, but we should have an announcement within a week or so,” said Arum about Fury’s next opponent. “It’ll definitely be in the United States in New York. The original plan was for him to fight in New York. Obviously, if there’s a compelling opponent, which makes for a better fight in Los Angeles or Las Vegas, that’s where the fight would take place. Right now, we’re looking for the Eastern area of the United States; that would be the mecca of boxing, Madison Square Garden. It could be October,” said Arum.

It’s pretty clear that Arum plans on matching Fury against an American fighter from the East Coast in his next match. That means that we’re probably going to see Fury fight Jennings. That’s not going to workout well if Jennings gets knocked out by Joe Joyce in their fight on July 13. It’s quite possible that Arum will try and smooth things out to bring Big Baby Miller back to fight Fury. It’ll be up to the New York State Athletic Commission if they would be willing to give Miller a boxing license following his his positive tests for several banned substances.

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