Undefeated challenger Jarrell Miller felt that he was disrespected a little when the unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua came to challenge him to fight at Madison Square Garden, just a few miles away from his Brooklyn home. Miller may have seemed like he is being overlooked as a challenger to someone that has intentions of being the undisputed champion. While he has amassed 20 knockouts in the 23 wins that he has, some may feel that he is a huge underdog against Joshua.
On Tuesday, he showed no sign of being intimidated at all. In fact, he was the one who wanted to wear that hat as he shoved Joshua just seconds after they were face to face in Madison Square Garden for their first press conference to promote their fight that will be on June 1st for the WBA, WBO, IBF, and IBO heavyweight titles. Soon after, Joshua seemed to be thrown off by a comment from Miller’s team as he jumped off the stage to confront the person that made the comment. The scene cooled down and then both Joshua and Miller went to their seats, but not before Miller made a statement.
“I sit down when I feel like it. I’m home,” Miller said to Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn. “I held my mouth long enough. Ain’t nobody gonna dictate to me! He gonna come here and tell me that I’m the underdog? It’s only the beginning.”
Miller had come off two knockout wins in a row, first over Tomasz Adamek last October and one month later against then-undefeated Bogdan Dinu before getting this opportunity against Anthony Joshua. He was able to become the #2 ranked contender in the IBF and the #4 ranked contender in the WBO before securing the fight coming up in June.
For Joshua, this is the seventh defense of the IBF title since winning it in 2016 over Charles Martin. Since then, he has unified the WBA and IBO titles with his win against Wladimir Klitschko in 2017 and the WBO title with his win against Joseph Parker in March 2018. He also fought former WBA champion Alexander Povetkin last September and scored a knockout win. Over the course of that time Joshua has been rated as the top rated heavyweight by many covering the sport, and has made an impact on the heavyweight division which had seemed to be dormant for years under the domination of the Klitschko brothers. He wants to become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, but before that he would like to make his name known in the US.
At the press conference, Joshua wanted to make it known that he wants to knock out Miller and beat him convincingly. He has no concerns about Miller coming into the fight.
“I’ll knock him out, 100 percent.” Joshua told the press on Tuesday. “He ain’t as smart as me. He can’t beat me, not even on his best day. Miller can’t punch, and he doesn’t have that much of a good work rate.”
“He’s coming up against a true fighter so that’s why I don’t think he can beat me. I’m not here to sell the fight…it’s just truth. I’ll beat Miller and knock him out.”
Joshua has knocked out 21 of his 22 opponents in his professional career, which gives him one of the highest knockout ratios in the division. However, there are some people that may give the notion that he isn’t one of the most powerful punchers in the sport. When I asked him a question about his power and how he is viewed as a fighter, he explained his position in the current heavyweight scene and who he wants next after the Miller fight.
“Just give me time. I’ve done what (other heavyweights) have been dreaming to do in half the time. I’ve come up and fought everyone since my 16th fight. I don’t really have to prove anything, stats and facts show it.”
“Miller is just someone else in my way, and once I beat Wilder next after him and if they can’t respect that then there’s nothing more I can do.”
Well, before Joshua can get to Wilder, he has to take care of business on June 1st. Jarrell Miller is a fighter with a come-forward style that does not take a backward step, so Joshua may have some work to do in this fight to be successful.
Cover photo by James Bell