By Keith Idec
UNIONDALE, New York – Jarrell Miller remained undefeated Saturday night.
Whether Miller made anyone want to see him challenge Anthony Joshua or Deontay Wilder for their heavyweight titles is another matter altogether. Miller was busier and better than the huge, lumbering Wach throughout an uninspiring bout he won by ninth-round technical knockout, but wasn’t overly impressive in what promoter Eddie Hearn essentially called an audition for a fight against Joshua.
Brooklyn’s Miller (20-0-1, 18 KOs) didn’t drop the durable Wach (33-3, 17 KOs), but by early in the ninth round, a New York State Athletic Commission doctor had seen enough. Referee David Fields, who had been keeping a close eye on the 37-year-old Wach, was instructed to stop the fight 1:02 into the ninth round of a bout HBO aired from Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. It was revealed after the fight that Wach had seriously injured his right hand during the bout.
The 6-feet-7, 268-pound Wach was throwing punches back at the 6-feet-4, 283-pound Miller when their fight was stopped.
“I was all right,” said Miller, who came in 16 pounds lighter for this fight than for his TKO win over Gerald Washington on July 29. “I was a little achy because I sprained my elbow in camp. I could feel the difference without having the extra weight on. I didn’t like it as much because I didn’t have as much power. I prefer being a little bigger.”
Hearn, whose company promotes Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs), said prior Saturday’s fight that if Miller beat Wach impressively he could be Joshua’s next opponent, perhaps as soon as March.
Three New York State Athletic Commission doctors closely examined Wach following the seventh round. They decided to let him continue.
By then, Miller was mostly in control of the fight.
“I was walking him down,” Miller said. “I was getting his timing down. I got adjusted to his height and I was fighting him to be ready for the full 12 rounds.”
A tiring Wach turned away from Miller right around the midway mark of the seventh round. Miller attempted to capitalize on Wach’s vulnerability, but couldn’t.
Miller drilled Wach with another right uppercut at about 1:15 of the sixth round. Wach took that shot well, as he did an overhand right/left hook combination by Miller later in the sixth.
Miller was very active in the fifth round, when he landed numerous shots to Wach’s body. The final 10 seconds of the fifth round featured the best exchange of the fight to that point.
Miller landed a right uppercut in the fourth round, but Wach hit him with an overhand right soon thereafter. Miller hit Wach with a body shot that made him pause in the third round.
Wach connected with a left hook and a right hand a little after the halfway point of the second round. Miller came back, however, to land thudding shots to Wach’s head and body.
Miller landed a solid overhand right late in the second round, but Wach countered with a left hand.
Miller and Wach traded left hooks with a little less than a minute to go in the first round, but neither fighter appeared affected by those shots.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.