Anthony Joshua to fight Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller
Speculation of whom world champion Anthony Joshua will fight next is over with the announcement that Joshua will face unbeaten Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller in his next bout. It will be the first time that the Briton has defended his title overseas with the fight taking place at Madison Square Gardens in New York.
With Tyson Fury locked in talks with Deontay Wilder for a rematch of their dramatic draw, the identity of Joshua’s next opponent has been the subject on a lot of peoples’ lips. Fellow Brit Dillian Whyte, whom Joshua beat for the vacant British heavyweight title on 12 December at the O2 Arena in 2015, looked favourite to be AJ’s next opponent. But a breakdown in talks led to American Miller being chosen instead.
News of the latest opponent for Joshua has been met with a lukewarm reception on social media with the majority of people preferring a unification bout with Deontay Wilder on most boxing fan’s wish list.
Alternatively, many British fans would love to see a match up with ‘Gypsy King’ Tyson Fury. This heavyweight ‘Battle of Britain’ would be both ticket and television gold. However, with Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury close to agreeing with terms on a rematch following their dramatic draw last December, Joshua was forced to find an alternative fight and an unbeaten opponent at the legendary boxing venue Madison Square Gardens was deemed too much of a temptation to resist.
The decision to fight in America, however, comes as a bit of a surprise. Since Joshua claimed the heavyweight title, it has been his mantra that challengers should come to the UK to fight. The 29-year-old has on several occasions expressed the opinion that British boxing fans have had for many years to suffer very early fight times due to the time difference in America. He pledged this would end and Britain would come first while he is champion.
The feeling within boxing circles is that Joshua had to relax this stance if he is going to be regarded as one of the greats of the sport. While Britain is enjoying an incredible boxing renaissance in recent years throughout many divisions, America needs to be conquered for his legacy to survive. The boxing mecca of Madison Square Gardens, scene of countless boxing classics, was probably a lure to tempting to resist.
The scheduled fight is certainly not without risk for AJ. Since making his professional debut in July 2009, the 30-year-old New Yorker Miller is yet to be beaten. In his 24 bouts, he has a KO rate of 83% and at 6’ 4” he is just 2” short of AJ. He is much heavier than AJ and with that weight comes the extra punching power. Despite AJ’s immaculate record, there is still a suspicion of the fragility of Joshua’s chin.