Unbeaten heavyweight Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller of Brooklyn, N.Y., has submitted a positive test for a banned performance-enhancing substance, throwing into peril his fight against three-belt champion Anthony Joshua on June 1.
The positive test, first reported by ESPN.com, stemmed from a random urine test Miller (23-0-1, 20 knockouts) took March 20.
While Miller co-promoter Dmitry Salita said in the ESPN report that he is “obtaining further information,” and that Miller “continues to train for his June 1 fight against Anthony Joshua,” it would likely take a negative B sample and significant new information for the New York State Athletic Commission to approve Miller for the bout at Madison Square Garden.
Miller was reportedly due to earn $4.5 million to fight Joshua.
Joshua promoter Eddie Hearn confirmed he’s been informed by the Nevada-based Voluntary Anti-Doping Assn. of Miller’s positive test, and said he’s awaiting further guidance from the New York commission.
Asked who’d be next in line for the important date that Joshua plans to keep, Hearn told the Los Angeles Times in a text message, “Anyone who wants it! Can’t rule anyone out.”
The substance found in Miller, GW1516, was identified by BALCO founder Victor Conte as a selective androgen receptor modulator.
“It is basically like a steroid that targets muscle tissue only and not organs,” Conte wrote to The Times in a text message. “Potent and effective anabolic substance … .”
Joshua’s two most prominent possible opponents, World Boxing Council champion Deontay Wilder and unbeaten lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, each have upcoming fights, with Wilder to meet Eastvale’s Dominic Breazeale May 18 in Brooklyn, and Fury taking a stay busy bout in Las Vegas June 15.
Joshua’s International Boxing Federation mandatory foe, Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev, is suspended by the California State Athletic Commission after kissing a female reporter on the lips to close her post-fight interview with him in Costa Mesa last month, and Pulev’s disciplinary hearing is scheduled May 14 after he suffered a bad cut in his victory.
Another top-ranked contender, England’s Dillian Whyte, previously had a falling out with Hearn, so the promoter’s interest in initiating contact with Whyte appears unlikely.