Yesterday the world of boxing was rocked with the official announcement that British IBF, WBA and WBO Heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua will be without an opponent for his next bout on June the 1st.
Joshua was scheduled to face American Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller in Madison Square Garden, this fight looks set to be scrapped. On Wednesday morning, Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn took to Twitter saying that Miller has failed an anti-doping test:
Miller was denied a license to fight under the New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) due to ‘adverse findings’ with an in-competition sample, suggesting a different opponent will be needed.
I will take a look at possible opponents for the Heavyweight champion below:
For me the number one option has to be Cuban boxer Luis Ortiz for Joshua’s replacement. ‘King Kong’ Ortiz has a record of 31-1 and has no scheduled next opponent. 40-year old Ortiz went 28-0 until he faced WBC Heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder in March of 2018, where he was knocked out in the 10th round. Ortiz is as tough as they come and would certainly step up to the plate, while still providing a tough test for Joshua to overcome and keep the fans happy.
5 stars *****
2. Bermane Stiverne
My second option for the Joshua camp would be Orthodox Canadian boxer Bermane Stiverne. At the wrong side of 40, he also went undefeated holding a record of 24-0, until you guessed it he faced Denotay Wilder in 2015. This fight was very close and went to a decision, Wilder taking the WBC title away from the Canadian. Stiverne then faced Wilder in a rematch in 2018, being KO’d in the first round. He also was most recently defeated by British Heavyweight Joe Joyce in February 2019, and is on a two fight skid. This would be a nice opponent for AJ and also help build the AJ-Wilder hype train further more…..
4 stars ****
3. Bryant Jennings
American boxer Bryant Jennings is an interesting one. Jennings went 19-0, until he face one of AJ’s former opponents in Heavyweight king Wladimir Klitschko in 2015. The 6 foot 3 boxer took on Luis Ortiz right after the Klitschko fight, showing that he doesn’t back down from the toughest of competition. Jennings then went on a 5-fight win streak, until he lost to Oscar Rivas in January 2019, loosing via 12th round KO. Jennings has publically announced that he would be happy to step in.
3 stars ***
4. Thomasz Adamek
Thomasz Adamek is a Polish boxer, who is a journey man with a record of 53-6. Adamek has defeats on his record to Vitali Klitschko, Vyacheslav Glazkov, Eric Molina and most recently, the man AJ was expected to face in Jarrell Miller. Adamek hasn’t fought since 2018, a big pay day against Joshua would be something that could tempt the 43-year old back out of retirement a second time.
3 stars ***
5. Joseph Parker
This brings me onto AJ’s last possible opponent. A rematch with Joseph Parker surely isn’t out of the question and something to consider. AJ fought the New Zealander in 2018, winning the WBO title via unanimous decision. That night Parker used his experience well frustrating AJ, who was unable to put the former champion away. However, it is unlikely that Eddie Hearn will want to take this rematch, and will go for a more easier fight while AJ hits state-side for the very first time and looks to build his fan base.
2 stars **