Anthony Joshua’s promoters Matchroom are exploring alternative opponents for the IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight champion’s next fight in New York on June 1 in the event Jarrell Miller is suspended.
Here, Press Association Sport explores six potential alternatives.
Poland’s undefeated Kownacki is based in New York and therefore has a suitable profile for the occasion of Joshua’s United States debut, which is specifically why Miller was first selected. He would also earn a career-high purse by agreeing to the relatively late-notice fight.
A rematch between Whyte and Joshua has long appeared inevitable, to the extent that he had been in contention to fight his bitter rival at Wembley Stadium earlier this year. A potential stumbling block, amid his low profile in the US, is the fact Matchroom are preparing for him to be involved in a pay-per-view fight in London in July.
Given Hunter is American and has fought and won in the UK, his profile may yet be considered suitable for an occasion Matchroom hope will further Joshua’s profile both domestically and in the US. That he is already signed to Joshua’s promoters is a further positive, as is his present place on a bill they are promoting in Chicago the weekend before June 1, which means he should already be in training. His only defeat came against the great Ukrainian, Oleksandr Usyk.
Cuba’s cultured Ortiz is still widely considered the division’s dangerman; he perhaps remains the biggest threat to Joshua, WBC champion Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury, and would represent a far lower reward opponent. The 40-year-old almost stopped the undefeated Wilder when they fought in New York last year.
The Germany-based Syrian was previously denied a high-profile fight with David Haye when, in 2013, the Brit withdrew having suffered a hand injury. His career has since stalled, and at 34 a fight with Joshua would provide an unexpected, lucrative opportunity. In 2016 he went the distance with Sefer Seferi, Fury’s unremarkable comeback opponent, which demonstrates his decline. He also last fought in November 2017.
The undefeated German and European heavyweight champion is known in Britain for defeating Dereck Chisora in 2017, but is yet to fight beyond European level, making a bout against one of the world’s two most dangerous heavyweights a significant risk. He also has minimal appeal in the US, having never fought outside of Europe, so appears an unlikely alternative to Miller.