Russia’s Alexander Povetkin (2nd L) falls backwards after Britain’s Anthony Joshua (R) throws a punch to knock him to the canvas during their boxing world Heavyweight title fight at Wembley Stadium in north west London on September 22, 2018. Britain’s Anthony Joshua retained his International Boxing Federation, World Boxing Association and World Boxing Organisation heavyweight titles with a seventh-round stoppage of Alexander Povetkin at London’s Wembley Stadium on September 22, 2018. ADRIAN DENNIS / AFP
Anthony Joshua could face Jarrell Miller in New York in April after talks with Deontay Wilder over a Wembley unification showdown stalled again. Dillian Whyte remains the prime option to step in and fight Joshua at Wembley in the increasingly likely event that no breakthrough occurs with Wilder for April 13, but promoter Eddie Hearn has thrown Miller firmly into the reckoning.
An April clash with Miller would see Hearn and Joshua, the IBF, WBA and WBO champion, give up their Wembley booking in favour of a stateside debut in the US fighter’s home city. Miller, who fights Tomasz Adamek on Hearn’s card in Chicago on Saturday, is currently ranked No 2 with the WBA and holds a record of 21 wins and one draw. He has been mooted as a future Joshua opponent ever since the two had to be separated during Joshua’s pre-Povetkin press tour in July.Hearn said: ‘It doesn’t have to be Whyte if it isn’t Wilder but Whyte is a good alternative for us. It could also be Miller in New York. That would be a big fight over here.
‘Our plan is still April 13 at Wembley but it isn’t looking good for Wilder. We would keep Wembley for Whyte, but if it was Miller it would be a similar time (in April) in New York. Miller could sell tickets and believe me he is a handful.’A collapse in the original negotiations between the Joshua and Wilder camps scuppered the chances of a September showdown, paving the way for Joshua to fight Povetkin last month.
The latest round of talks have so far fared no better, with Hearn claiming that Wilder’s management are refusing to hold a meeting until after his clash with Tyson Fury on December 1.That stand-off is despite assertions from Hearn that he has upped his offer to the WBC champion in the past week, taking in a two-way rematch clause, a guaranteed minimum purse and a percentage, instead of a flat fee $15m that was offered previously.
Hearn said: ‘We asked for a meeting after the Povetkin fight and Shelly Finkel (Wilder’s manager) said they aren’t interested in meeting. They said they will speak after the Fury fight, but if we do that, it will take a month or two months or three to close the deal, so let’s start now. ‘They said to send them an offer and we did and it is a better offer than last time – it is a percentage plus a guarantee, plus a two-way rematch this time.‘I said, “Can we now have a meeting?” and they said no. It is frustrating because people will accuse us and Joshua of not wanting the fight but how can you not even have a meeting to discuss the biggest fight in world boxing? How? Even to just say no.