Anthony Joshua’s US debut has been thrown into doubt after promoter Eddie Hearn revealed an ‘adverse finding’ had been found in a drug test sample of his scheduled opponent, Jarrell Miller.
The Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA), informed Hearn of the setback, which comes just over six weeks, before the contest is set to take place June 1st at Madison Square Garden.
Revealing the news on Twitter, Hearn stated: “We have been informed by VADA that there has been an adverse finding in Jarrell Miller’s sample collected on March 20th, 2019. We are working with all relevant parties and will update with more details soon. AJ’s preparation continues for June 1st at MSG.”
The American’s challenge for the title is now in serious jeopardy, especially given the strict nature of the New York Athletic Commission. The American’s promoter, Dmitriy Salita, responded on Twitter: “We are in the process of obtaining further information about Vada’s finding and will have more to say soon on this developing.”
It’s been reported that there is a shortlist of names potentially being lined up to face Joshua in his US debut, should Miller’s irregular findings lead to a suspension.
From the perspective of many British boxing fans, the most alluring replacement comes in the form of Joshua’s bitter London rival, Dillian Whyte, however from a commercial standpoint, it’s a rematch that would garner huge attention and interest in the UK, and whilst it would be a safe bet in terms of pay-per-view numbers, it seems unlikely to happen anywhere other than Wembley Stadium.
Furthermore, Joshua could choose to fastrack one of his potential mandatory defences and take on IBF ranked contender Kubrat Pulev, although it remains to be seen how the Bulgarian has recovered from a cut he sustained a contest earlier this month.
A more obvious and straightforward choice maybe Matchroom’s new young American signing, Michael Hunter, whilst the 30 year old will be viewed as an obscure opponent by UK fans, it is one that will elevate interest in the fight from the perspective of US fans.
The news comes just days after Hearn announced that Irish fighter, Katie Taylor will compete for the undisputed lightweight title, when she takes on Delfine Persoon as the chief support on the card at Madison Square Garden.