As announced before, Anthony ‘AJ’ Joshua was supposed to reveal his new opponent for the fight on the 1st of June. His previous challenger Jarrell Miller is out of the running after he came out positive in three different drug tests. Based on this, the New York State Athletic Commission decided to not grant him another professional boxing license last week.
Joshua and his promoter Eddie Hearn have been on the lookout for a replacement ever since. That is proving to be more difficult than either would have thought it to be. Negotiations are still happening and there are many rumors about who the new opponent will be. AJ continues his general preparations for the fight but as long as an opponent hasn’t been confirmed, he won’t be able to adjust his style.
One thing is for sure, Luis Ortiz is out of the running to oppose Anthony Joshua. Ortiz was the favorite to replace Miller, mainly because the 40-year-old Cuban boxer is known for his punching skills and counterpunching capability. Unfortunately, his management said that the offers that were made by promoter Eddie Hearn were not nearly high enough for Ortiz to accept. Sending their apologies to the fans, Ortiz’ management wrote on Instagram:
“It’s a no go for June 1. Sorry guys we were told to stay as quiet as possible and play possum until the fight had been made because every-time someone called Luis out it would be a gimmick to promote them self but it still didn’t work. We just received news from the promoter that it’s a no go and it was all a gimmick and Hearn’s low ball offers will not be accepted and no contract even ever got sent so sorry to all the loyal fans. Luis really wanted this title shot.”
Promoter Eddie Hearn hinted that currently, two options remain as possible opponents to fight Anthony Joshua. The first being Andy Ruiz, who confirmed the rumors that negotiations are happening:
“I have had a phone call. They’re talking to my team and all that. I’m a little excited. I don’t wanna get ahead of myself, but I’m excited.
They’re looking for an opponent, I’m here. I just got done fighting on April 20 so I’m fresh, I’m ready, I’m ready to rock n’ roll.”
The other option Hearn was referring to is Michael ‘The Bounty’ Hunter is an American boxer who still is in the running to take on Joshua in Madison Square Garden. The 30-year-old has only been defeated once before by the Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk.
Another name that came up in the discussion about AJ’s new rival was American Trevor Bryan. Bryan’s promoter, Don King, said he’s been waiting for Hearn to return his calls. The promoter explained he would be happy to help to bring attention to the yet to be confirmed fight. The match would be a thrill for boxing fans all over the world.
The undefeated Trevor Bryan is the current title holder for Interim WBA World Heavyweight champion. Former boxer Johnny Nelson, who now works for Sky Sports, commented:
“The big name that is probably top of the list is Trevor Bryan, he’s a Don King fighter.
He’s young, 29-years-old, I think he’s knocked 14 of his opponents out, unbeaten and again a New Yorker so he’s relevant to the lot out there. As far as Joshua is concerned, from his point of view, it’s deflating but he will just want to fight, he doesn’t care who it is.”
Joshua’s management now claims to announce a new opponent within 24 hours. In the meantime, boxing fans from all over the world remain to wait for the disclosure. Not to worry, the fight will still take place. Joshua, who will continue his training camp, assured his fans by letting them know:
“The landlord will still come and collect its rent.”
Make sure to keep up with the latest Anthony Joshua Odds to be able to place the best bets for the fight. The British fighter is sure to make his way to Madison Square Garden on the 1st of June. Who do you think will fight Joshua on the 1st of June?