Jarrell Miller is on course for his first stateside fight since the pandemic.
BoxingScene.com has confirmed that plans are in place for the unbeaten heavyweight, who is slated to appear on a July 23 show in the main ballroom of the Embassy Suites hotel in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. The fight will come exactly one month after his 23 points win over Ariel Bracamonte on the road in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which marked his first ring appearance in nearly four years, which is how long it’s been since Miller has fought in the U.S.
That dynamic will change with Miller’s placement on an already scheduled show 30 miles southeast of Nashville, as part of leading local promoter Tristar Boxing’s ‘Fight Night in the Boro’ series.
An opponent was not yet named for Miller (24-0-1, 20KOs), who still must be approved for a license by the Tennessee Athletic Commission (TAC). It is not expected to be an issue, although it is a unique circumstance since it will be his first attempt at being licensed in any state under the jurisdiction of the Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC) since his backdated two-year suspension as handed down by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NAC) after testing positive for a banned substance ahead of a scheduled July 2020 fight in Las Vegas.
Miller has not fought anywhere in the states since November 2018, when he scored a fourth-round knockout of Bogdan Dinu as part of a DAZN show in Mulvane, Kansas. His next fight was to come in a challenge of then-unbeaten WBA/IBF/WBO/IBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (24-2, 22KOs) in June 2019 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, mere minutes from his Brooklyn hometown.
The fight with Joshua fell through after Miller tested positive for multiple banned substances. The development resulted in his losing out on a lucrative fight package worth roughly $6.5 million that included comeback bouts if he lost, with even more to gain had he beaten Joshua and secured a rematch. However, he avoided an official suspension due to not being licensed in the state of New York at the time of the positive drug test.
Miller still sat out all of 2019, and well into 2020 due to the pandemic. Once the sport resumed, Miller—through co-promoters Greg Cohen and Dmitry Salita—entered a pact with Top Rank which was to begin with a July 9, 2020 fight with Jerry Forrest on ESPN from the MGM Grand Garden Conference Center in Las Vegas. The Nevada commission approved the fight on the condition that Miller was to be treated and tested like a licensed fighter. In producing a positive drug test for GW501516—also known as cardarine and endurobol—Miller was subject to a suspension. The Nevada commission placed him on temporary suspension for roughly five months before handing down the final ruling in December 2020 for a backdated two-year ban from the time of the positive drug test in June 2020.
Miller appeared before the Nevada commission earlier this year, not to ask for leniency but to provide an update that he was once again enrolled in VADA random testing after having to temporarily drop out due to financial hardship. The commission took note of the strides made by the Brooklynite and—while standing firm on the end date for his suspension—agreeing to make him conditionally eligible to apply for a license and secure a fight immediately upon completion of his two-year ban.
Miller instead landed a fight in Argentina to shake off the rust, showing up at a career fluffiest 341 ¾ pounds for his ten-round, unanimous decision win over Bracamonte. The fight took place as part of the WBA’s two-day KO Drugs festival in Buenos Aires.
Assuming he is licensed in Tennessee, Miller’s bout will serve as part of a nine-fight show at the intimate venue, which has drawn standing room only crowds for its previous two shows. The card will also feature longtime local ticket seller Luis Galarza (27-4, 18KOs), a veteran Boricua welterweight who relocated to middle Tennessee prior to turning pro in 2001 best known for stoppage losses to Kell Brook and Austin Trout in spirited efforts.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox