Anthony Joshua v Jarrell Miller Breakdown
By Sina Latif
The build-up to unified world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua’s US debut clash against unbeaten top 10 contender Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller at Madison Square Garden, New York City, on June 1, is well and truly underway.
Joshua got shoved by Miller before any words had been said at a fiery first press conference at MSG and the pair subsequently engaged in an x-rated back-and-forth, uncharacteristic of a typical press conference involving the Brit.
In the second press conference in London, a somewhat more serene affair in comparison, Joshua said that he will ‘reconstruct’ Miller’s face and will be his ‘surgeon’.
This different side to Joshua and the unusual retaliation of the unified champion has in-creased anticipation ahead of the bout following initial disappointment at the failure to agree to a deal to get Joshua in the ring with Wilder, Fury or Whyte.
Miller is not a household name, unsurprisingly. He has been very carefully matched thus far, fighting the likes of Gerald Washington, Mariusz Wach, Johann Duhaupas, Tomasz Adamek and Bogdan Dinu. This list consists of fading former world-title challengers and fighters who Miller would be certain of beating.
This means that there are still question marks regarding how good Miller actually is.
However, general consensus is that Miller, with a record of 23-0-1 with 20 KO’s, is a top 10 heavyweight. This is justified as he has done more than hold his own with the opponents put in front of him thus far.
His volume of punches is very impressive for a heavyweight, and he has great work rate, constantly applying relentless pressure. This has resulted in Miller breaking opponents down, forcing the referee to stop the fight against Washington after the eighth round and fighters such as Duhaupas appearing to have the sole objective of surviving, struggling with the pressure and looking close to quitting at moments in the fight.
One thing that is doubtful is whether Miller has elite punching power, which Joshua most certainly has. Joshua has much greater one-punch knockout power and is a much more powerful and better combination puncher than any of Miller’s previous opponents, however, the same cannot be said regarding Miller and Joshua’s previous opponents.
Joshua has taken Wladimir Klitschko and Alexander Povetkin’s best punches, and came out victorious in both fights, showing real heart and determination to end the East European Olympic gold medallists with deadly combinations.
The Brooklynite has never been in the ring with anybody nearly as talented as Joshua, and that may be crucial on fight night.
Joshua went to a dark place against Klitschko, being put down on the canvas and prevailing as the victor after a brutal war. He has also dismantled some solid opponents, and is an Olympic gold medallist.
‘AJ’ has the experience and pedigree that Miller does not.
Miller is frequently open to getting hit and his only defence seems to be his offence, with limited head movement. Against Joshua, this could be suicidal. If the Brit is accurate with his punches and can land hard punches early on, he could not only gain a considerable lead on the scorecards and disrupt Miller’s rhythm from early in the fight, but he could al-so hurt the New Yorker.
This is largely dependent on Miller’s chin, which is untested. If AJ lands accurate power punches early on and Miller doesn’t respond well, it could be an early night for Miller.
However, if Miller has an iron chin, it could be a long night for Joshua. AJ will have to earn Miller’s respect early in the fight, but if he doesn’t, and Miller continues to come for-ward and apply pressure, circumstances can become problematic for Joshua.
Miller’s best hope may be to absorb Joshua’s punches and take the Brit into deep waters, hoping that Joshua gasses for Miller to take advantage. Miller will attempt to get inside Joshua’s reach and establish his work rate on the inside, but Joshua also loves the in-side, as he can unleash his short hooks and uppercuts.
This fight is very intriguing because it will answer a lot of unknowns. We’ll find out the extent of Joshua’s power once we see him fighting a 300-pounds fighter, who loves to constantly apply pressure. We’ll see how good Miller actually is because he hasn’t fought anybody noteworthy yet. We’ll see how the undefeated Brit reacts to his US debut fight, his first fight as a professional away from home comforts, and whether this has a psycho-logical effect.