Fightful Boxing Newsletter (2/21): Tyson Fury To ESPN, Billy Joe Saunders Goes To 168, Joshua vs. Miller

Anthony Joshua vs. Jarrell Miller Set For June 1 At MSG:

One of boxing’s biggest open secrets of the past few weeks has officially been revealed as unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua will be coming to the United States for his next title defense.

Joshua will defend his WBA “Super,” WBO and IBF heavyweight titles against undefeated contender Jarrell Miller at Madison Square Garden in New York City on June 1. The fight will headline a Matchroom Boxing card that will be streamed on DAZN in the United States.

The fight will be Joshua’s first pro fight outside of the United Kingdom, where he has been one of the biggest boxing draws in history. Joshua’s last four fights, taking place at either Wembley Stadium in London or Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, drew a total attendance of more than 300,000 fans. Joshua last fought in September at Wembley when he defeated Alexander Povetkin to retain his unified titles.

It was previously announced that Joshua would fight at Wembley Stadium on April 13 as the venue was reserved for that date for his next fight. Originally, it was hoped that Joshua would fight WBC champion Deontay Wilder this April to crown an undisputed heavyweight champion, but Wilder elected to move forward with a title rematch against Tyson Fury, set to be announced soon. Joshua then looked towards a rematch against Dillian Whyte but that fight also fell through after negotiations went awry.

As such, Joshua and promoter Eddie Hearn looked towards Miller as Joshua’s next challenger. The undefeated British champion had no real intentions of fighting in the United States any time soon, but after he attended the December 15 Golden Boy Promotions card at Madison Square Garden, Joshua warmed up to the idea of fighting in that venue in the future.

With an April 13 date at Wembley no longer possible, the idea of Joshua fighting in the Big Apple became more plausible as Hearn believed fighting in the United States would help solidify Joshua as a global boxing star.

Miller, a former kickboxer who has ascended through the heavyweight rankings in the last couple of years, will finally get his chance at fighting for a world title. Miller has a 23-0-1 record with 20 knockout wins, two of which took place in 2018. Miller last fought on November 17 when he knocked out Bogdan Dinu in the fourth round of their fight which took place in Kansas. Miller is currently ranked in the top three in both the WBA and WBO heavyweight rankings.

The two held a press conference on February 19 which ultimately ended up being an unmitigated disaster. The presser started close to 20 minutes later than originally intended and over on the YouTube stream, the quality of the video was that of a 1980s VHS tape.

There were volume issues and when the two boxers hopped into the stage, the end result was full of sophomoric humor, chaos and a failed attempt to generate any extra interest in the fight. The press conference started with Joshua and Miller staring each other for a brief moment until Miller pushes Joshua, leading to a near brawl between the two that had to be controlled by several people, including Hearn. It got so out of hand, that Hearn decided that everyone will speak from their own seat instead of going to the podium, a suggestion Miller defiantly ignored for several minutes before ultimately taking his seat.

Once the actual presser started, Joshua and Miller would mainly spend their time exchanging vulgarities and crude, sexual humor, most of which came from Miller. It appeared as if they tried to adopt the Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor style of promoting their fight, but failed on virtually every single level.

Hopefully, the public will forget about this isolated presser and I doubt that this will be the reason the fight doesn’t sell out if it were to not sell out. So far, ticket sales have gone well with the pre-sale ticket sales being the highest-grossing for a boxing event at Madison Square Garden. General tickets have gone on sale. Tickets are priced, $106, $156, $206, $306, $406, $506, $756, $1,006, $1,256 and $2,506 plus applicable booking fees.

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