Anthony Joshua next fight: Why Big Baby Miller makes big senseWritten by Leroy Cleveland
After that exciting scrap with Carlos Takam tonight, who will WBA/IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (20-0, 20 KO) fight next?
(Image courtesy of Sky Sports Boxing)
And will that fight serve as his American debut?
“Jarrell Miller’s making a lot of noise right now,” promoter Eddie Hearn said earlier this week.
“We look at potential opponents for Anthony Joshua, particularly in the United States and Jarrell Miller’s at the top of the list.”
Why is Jarrell 'Big Baby' Miller (19-0-17 KO) is the ideal opponent for now?
Casual fans in the U.S.
Obviously, we want to see Joshua face WBC champ Deontay Wilder and we might see it in late 2018. But at this moment, Joshua is still unknown to casual fans in the US. Fighting an American contender in the States prior to facing Wilder, who is also American, makes sense.
Why should Team Joshua fight Wilder straight away, knowing casual fans in the States are only vaguely familiar with AJ?
It would make more sense to introduce Anthony to the American masses, pique Americans' instrest and THEN face Wilder when the public demand for that bout in the US is much greater. Heightened interest always equates to increased revenue.
19-0-1, 17 KO = Legitimacy
(this will change soon as Miller has an upcoming fight)
Miller's record would certainly do nothing to hinder sales or overall interest in Joshua vs Big Baby as the latter boasts a KO percentage of 85. His record is a fine selling point and would provide a good talking point against critics who'll insist Miller is a tomato can,
If you're Team Joshua, you need a fella who is proven but not too proven. Hence, taking a big risk would jeopardize the Wilder superfight.
The fact Big Baby hasn't faced a true 'name' opponent is an advantage for Joshua. However, Miller was impressive in stopping Gerald Washington (then 18-1-1) whose sole loss, entering the fight, was to Wilder. And if Jarrell looks good against Mariusz Wach in a few weeks, Hearn can promote Miller's successes against two previous world title challengers. (Wach was defeated by then-champion Wladimir Klitschko a few years back)
Poise and Skill
Stylistically, Miller lacks the polish of AJ and is certainly no threat to outbox him nor does he have the speed of explosiveness of the champion. Big Baby would be a satisfactory, but not not high, threat. Advantage: Joshua
In boxing, personality is almost as important as winning as fans gravitate more to "fighters of interest." Conor McGregor anyone? Big Baby Miller is a charismatic guy with a commanding presence who is well capable of generating interest beyond the sport's hardcore junkies.
"[Jarrell Miller would] be one of the perfect guys to come over and take on in the States.”
If Miller defeats Wach on November 11, look for Joshua vs Miller in March or April.