‘I’ll fight anybody, just get me an opponent’ – Anthony Joshua vows to keep US debut despite Jarrell Miller drugs failure

Heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua has pledged that his American debut will go ahead as planned at Madison Square Garden in six weeks’ time after his original opponent Jarrell Miller tested positive for a banned performance-enhancing steroid.

The positive result for the drug GW1516 came from a random urine test which the unbeaten Miller had taken for the Nevada-based Voluntary Anti-Doping Association on March 20. Joshua had also undergone a similar test.

Miller, of Brooklyn, who was set to earn a career-high $6 million (£4.6 million) purse to challenge the Briton for three of the world title belts, was denied a licence to fight on Wednesday evening and replacements for Miller are being sought.

Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter, told Telegraph Sport: “We are talking to other potential opponents. The first person I called when I learnt the news was Anthony, and he said ‘I’ll fight anybody. The event goes on. Just get me an opponent’.

“We had a dozen calls from fighters wanting an opportunity and we will go through the serious ones. Anyone in the top 15 in the world is acceptable, but the higher ranked, the bigger the name, the better.


“In an ideal world, we would prefer it to be an American opponent, but there are 17,000 tickets sold and 10,000 Brits are flying over. How many of those were coming to watch Miller?”
Former world title challenger Luis Ortiz or Polish fighter Adam Kownacki are potential replacements, but even Joe Joyce, the Olympic silver medallist and Commonwealth Games gold medallist put himself forward, although he is only 8-0 as a professional, as did Joseph Parker, who lost his World Boxing Organisation belt to Joshua in Cardiff a year ago.

“I’m ready to go,” Parker said on Wednesday. Another possible opponent is Londoner Dillian Whyte, who is ranked fourth with the World Boxing Association, though turned down a fight with Joshua scheduled for Wembley Stadium on April 13, saying he was unhappy with the deal and the timings. “Is Dillian Whyte in the mix? I don’t think so…” Hearn said. “Our plan is for him to fight in July.


“If he wanted the fight on June 1, AJ would take it. We are obviously moving into action and we are going to have a replacement standing by.”

Meanwhile in New York, Amir Khan went head to head with Terence Crawford, the World Boxing Organisation champion, at a news conference ahead of their welterweight clash at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night. Khan said that he is “inspired” by the support of the legendary Sugar Ray Leonard, revealing to Telegraph Sport that he abstains from sex for six weeks leading into his fights. Some boxers believe abstinence helps them retain vim for training and the contest itself.
“I’ve always been like that, I like to be getting into fight mode without thoughts of that, so from about six weeks out there is no sex,” said Khan. “It’s something different boxers do differently. I’ve even had my own apartment training for this fight. I think staying away from sex just keeps you more in your animal spirit side, retaining something inside you.”






‘Devastated’ Jarrell Miller to appeal decision to revoke his licence for doping test failure

Jarrell Miller says he has “never knowingly taken any banned substance” and intends to appeal against the decision to revoke his licence following an adverse doping test.

Miller, who was due to fight British heavyweight Anthony Joshua in his native New York on June 1, produced an adverse result for a metabolic modulator in testing carried out on March 20 by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA).

He retains the right to request another sample be tested and to reapply for a licence, and has now stated his intention to “vigorously appeal” against the decision.

“I am absolutely devastated upon hearing the news my boxing licence has been revoked in NY State and I will be vigorously appealing this decision,” he wrote on Instagram.

“I have NEVER knowingly taken any banned substance and when I found out the news last night I was totally shocked.

“My team and I stand for integrity, decency & honesty and together we will stand to fight this with everything we have!

Joshua’s camp are still working towards a fight at Madison Square Garden on June 1, with Matchroom chief executive Frank Smith stating on Wednesday night that his organisation were “looking at other potential opponents”.
Miller continued: “This was a voluntary test that I was very happy to do and these results came just one week after another voluntary test that I had taken which was completely clean.

“I refuse to just lie down and let my dream be taken away from me when I know in my heart that I’ve done nothing wrong.

“Fifteen years of hard work. I’m a WARRIOR .. I don’t need a banned substance.

“Remember, don’t believe everything you hear and see. The facts will prevail and I shall be vindicated. I don’t have anything to hide and the truth will make itself known.”





Anthony Joshua’s opponent, Jarrell Miller, submits positive PED test

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.