Frank Warren believes Jarrell Miller is “done” after losing his heavyweight title shot against Anthony Joshua due to a failed drugs test, with the boxing promoter adding that he has “let his sport down”.
Miller has been denied a licence with the New York State Athletic Commission after returning a positive drugs test for the banned substance GW1516, and must hope for his B Sample to return clean before he can apply for a new licence to face Joshua.
That leaves the scheduled 1 June bout at New York’s Madison Square Garden in major jeopardy, with Joshua and promoter Eddie Hearn already on the lookout for a new opponent to take Miller’s place on the card. With Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury already booked to face other opponents, and domestic rival Dillian Whyte overlooked, it appears that Cuban Luis Ortiz is the current frontrunner to fill Miller’s shoes.
But while the boxing world moves so fast in that Miller may not yet be out of the fight depending on his B sample, Warren was keen to highlight just how bad the adverse finding was for the heavyweight division given that he had spent the build-up to the bout accusing Joshua of doping – and added that he expects Miller’s B sample to back up what has already been found.
“As a boxing fan it is very disappointing,” said Warren. “Here you have a guy who accused AJ of juicing and there he is, he's found… look his B sample is going to be the same as his A sample.
“He's done. They are not going to licence him. It's not like he hasn't got previous for it so that is a dead duck.
“It is not good for the sport and is not good for boxing. He has let the sport down and he has certainly let himself down.”
Hearn has already confirmed his attention to maintain the 1 June date after making record pay-per-view sales for the bout in what is Joshua’s US debut. But the WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight champion is also waiting nervously for confirmation that he will have an opponent for the fight, with Ortiz given until Tuesday to agree to terms.
One problem for his profile across the Atlantic though is the absence of American interest. While Miller was not the biggest name in the US, he would still have enjoyed home support that Ortiz will be unable to drum up, and that could lead to interest in the bout – should it get made – waning somewhat and going against what Hearn is attempting to achieve in building a US profile for Joshua.
Warren believes this is a big problem for the pair, bigger than the task of finding a new opponent.
“At least they have a situation where they have six weeks to find an opponent and it hasn't happened in the week of the fight,” Warren added.
“The problem they have is they have decided to take (Anthony) Joshua to the States, New York, Madison Square Gardens, and they now have to, I believe, find an American opponent to justify the Yanks showing up.
“It all depends who his opponent is. Look, it was a struggle to justify Miller, to be honest. He wasn't even a name in his own street, was he?”