Jarrell Miller: The Man to Beat Anthony Joshua?
By Henry Walter
Jarrell Miller, 30, is Anthony Joshua’s next opponent if the boxing rumour-mill is to be believed. Miller, despite being on the verge of landing such a high-profile fight, is a relatively unknown commodity amongst all but the most passionate boxing fans. So how good is he? Does the six feet-four unbeaten prospect stand a chance against Joshua?
The clues lie in his past. Miller began training in Muay Thai as a teenager and eventually turned pro as a kick-boxer, beginning boxing training whilst still an active kick-boxer.
Miller had just eleven fights as an amateur boxer, before turning professional in 2009. His early professional appearances were sporadic and by the end of 2012 he had amassed just four wins, all against men with losing records.
His fifth fight saw him step up in class to fight the decent, but little known, Joey Dawejko. Dawejko held Miller to a draw and Miller’s hopes of being taken seriously as a contender took a huge dent.
Miller took eight months out then rebounded with a string of wins, gradually stepping up the level of opposition as he went along.
January, 2016, saw Miller earn a shot at the interim NABF title against fringe prospect Donovan Dennis 12-2. He prevailed fairly straightforwardly, in seven rounds, to capture his first title.
Hard hitting, fellow American prospect, Gerald Washington (18-1-1), was his next big test and he passed that one too, with Washington retiring after eight rounds. His stiffest test thus far followed just months later when he faced top Polish contender Mariusz Wach (33-2) in 2017.
At six feet-seven, Wach towered over Miller and had previously been in with both Wladimir Klitschko and Alexander Povetkin, losing to both in decent showings. He was expected to provide Miller with a hard test but the American dominated the contest, forcing the stoppage in nine rounds, to send a huge statement to the rest of the division.
Today Miller possesses a very respectable record of 23-0-1 record with 20 of his wins having come via knockout or stoppage. Yet it was a 2018 press conference, where he confronted and goaded Joshua, that put him on the Englishman’s radar more than anything he has achieved in the ring.
Miller’s record is impressive but there are several heavyweights with stronger ones. Miller used his initiative to try to get under Joshua’s skin and Joshua took the bait. If they do fight in 2019 this will be the reason why.
So can Miller beat Joshua? He has a chance, he has a decent jab and top drawer power. Unbeaten fighters are always something of an unknown quantity. You can make guesses and assumptions but all you can really know for sure about them is that they have yet to find their level. Yet a fight against Joshua would be a very significant leap up in class for Miller.
Miller does not have the amateur pedigree of Joshua and has nowhere near the experience he has in the pro ranks. Joshua has fought virtually every big name in the division whilst Miller’s biggest scalp is Wach, a decent contender but nothing more.
Having extensively watched both men’s previous fights and taking into account the gulf in experience between the two it is virtually impossible for me to envisage a Miller win. Joshua’s height, reach power and skill should see him win decisively and possibly very early. Don’t be surprised to see Joshua emerge victorious within the first three rounds. For far bigger tests await the heavyweight champion of the world.