Promoter Eddie Hearn is scrambling to find an opponent for unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua 22-0 (21) after contender Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller 23-0-1 (20) failed a drug test.
The WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight champion was scheduled to make his highly-anticipated US debut against Miller at New York’s famed Madison Square Garden on June 1.
Brooklyn’s Miller, 30, delivered an adverse finding in a VADA-administered test on March 20. The American’s team has requested the B sample be tested and are awaiting those results.
With just six weeks to go until fight night, Hearn has reached out to 18 heavyweights to replace Miller, but just eight are being seriously considered.
On the shortlist are Cuba’s Luis Ortiz, Poland’s Adam Kownacki and American Michael Hunter.
“It feels like we need an American fighter or someone that the American market is also familiar with,” Hearn told BBC Sport.
“So in that respect you have Luis Ortiz, whose manager has already said he doesn’t think he can make it time-wise, which I’ve disagreed with, but we’re still talking, plus Adam Kownacki and Michael Hunter.
“Ultimately we want someone from the top 15 that’s going to put up a great fight, who is going to come to win. That’s the most important thing. I don’t want someone who wants to take a payday on 1 June, I want someone who wants to come and rip the world heavyweight title from Joshua.”
Hearn said he expects to announcement a replacement opponent within the week.
“There will be an announcement next week, either for Miller, which is very, very unlikely, or for a new opponent, which is more than likely. On 1 June at Madison Square Garden we go ahead as planned, Anthony Joshua’s American debut,” Hearn continued.
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