PERHAPS the only thing more inevitable than a host of heavyweight contenders begging for an Anthony Joshua payday on June 1 was a statement of denial released by Jarrell Miller, the challenger whose unfortunate failed VADA test has caused all manner of disruption.
Yesterday it was revealed Miller’s voluntary test was flagged for traces of endurobol, a steroid, and he was promptly suspended by the New York State Athletic Commission. This meant that not only had his reputation been blackened (this is the second time Miller has failed a test in his combat sports career) but that he is also now guaranteed to miss out on the reported $6 million payday he would have received for boxing Joshua in New York.
Fair to say, ‘Big Baby’ has had better weeks.
“I want to thank all of my supporters who have stood by me since day one, especially during this extremely difficult time,” said Miller on his Instagram page.
“I have not been tuned in to social media and any other media outlets to focus, channel all of my energies into working hard with no distractions.
“I’m absolutely devastated upon hearing the news my boxing license has been revoked in NY State. I will be vigorously appealing this decision.
“I have NEVER knowingly taken any banned substance and when I found out the news last night I was totally shocked.
“My team and I stand for integrity, decency and honesty. Together we will stand to fight this with everything we have!
“This was a voluntarily test that I was very happy to do. These results came just one week after another voluntarily test that I had taken which was completely clean.
“I refuse to just lie down and let my dream be taken away from me when I know in my heart that I’ve done nothing wrong.
“Fifteen years of hard work. I’m a WARRIOR. I don’t need a banned substance!
“Remember, don’t believe everything you hear and see. The facts will prevail, and I shall be vindicated.
“I don’t have anything to hide and the truth will make itself known.”
With Miller now out of the picture, we wait to see who steps in and fills the void on June 1 at MSG. Early frontrunners include American Michael Hunter, who recently signed with Matchroom Boxing, Cuban southpaw Luis Ortiz, who is old but likely too dangerous, and Adam Kownacki, a Brooklyn-based Pole who would fit the bill but has seemingly ruled himself out. Never as straightforward as it should be, this heavyweight division.
We didn’t have very long to get excited about the super-middleweight fight between David Lemieux and John Ryder, set for May 4 in Las Vegas.
Unfortunately, no sooner had it been announced than Lemieux, the French-Canadian making a move up in weight, revealed he has injured his right hand in sparring and will consequently no longer be able to fight the Brit in May.
According to a press release, his doctor has recommended he rests the injured hand for eight weeks before returning to the gym, which means Ryder is without an opponent, and the May 4 headliner between Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and Daniel Jacobs has lost an intriguing undercard fight.
Lemieux, 40-4 (34), is understandably disappointed about the injury but has vowed to return stronger once it has healed.
“Training camp was going really great,” said the 30-year-old. “I felt in tremendous shape, the strongest I’d ever felt in my entire career. But I will be back soon. Hopefully, the fans will understand. I promise I will make it up to them once I’m healed.”
Lemieux’s manager, Camille Estephan, added: “I’m very disappointed since he was in the best shape of his life both in the gym and in the ring. We will take the time to heal his hand and get right back in the chase for a world title.”
“It’s very unfortunate that David Lemieux’s return has been postponed,” said Eric Gomez, President of Golden Boy. “But this is boxing, and these things happen. We wish David a speedy recovery and look forward to his return, so he can make big waves at 168 pounds.”