By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Jarrell Miller intended to test Anthony Joshua on Tuesday.
The trash-talking heavyweight contender figured he could aggravate Joshua if he called out the undefeated heavyweight champion during a DAZN press conference in which Joshua’s upcoming title defense against Alexander Povetkin was announced. According to Miller, Joshua reacted just how he expected when he confronted the British champion on the stage.
“I knew that he’s a punk, so I wanted to push his buttons a little bit and see what he would do,” Miller told BoxingScene.com after their confrontation. “We see he flinched a lot of times, so that’s all I needed to know.”
Promoter Eddie Hearn and others on the stage separated Miller and Joshua once they went face to face.
Joshua’s arms were full of title belts at the time Miller approached him and hurled insults at the unsuspecting superstar. There weren’t any punches thrown while they argued and the huge heavyweights went their separate ways once the promotional photos were taken.
“Hell yeah, he was surprised,” Miller said. “He was surprised when I even showed up. As soon as I got on stage, I seen him jump a little bit. But we from Brooklyn. We smell fear. We gonna toast that English muffin sooner or later.”
The 6-feet-6, 245-pound Joshua is known as a mild-mannered champion who typically avoids talking trash about his challengers and potential opponents. Brooklyn’s Miller considers Joshua’s public persona to be a façade.
“He’s not gonna say nothing,” Miller said. “He don’t want no confrontation. Povetkin don’t speak that much English, so he get away with that. [Joshua is] a quiet guy. But behind cameras, he talks sh*t, like a little b*tch. Behind cameras, ‘F*** this. F*** that. A**hole.’ But in front of the cameras, he’s like a f****ing robot. He’s a punk. He’s not a role model, he’s a b*tch model.”
Earlier this year, Miller thought he had a legitimate shot to challenge Joshua for his IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO titles in August. Speculation persisted then, before Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing and Perform Group began negotiating this DAZN partnership, that Joshua would consider meeting Miller in his United States debut at some point in August.
The 30-year-old Miller became more pessimistic regarding that opportunity the closer he got to his last fight – a 12-round, unanimous-decision defeat of France’s Johann Duhaupas (37-5, 24 KOs) on April 28 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Miller (21-0-1, 18 KOs) is expected to oppose Poland’s Artur Szpilka (21-3, 15 KOs) in his first DAZN appearance October 6 at DePaul University’s Wintrust Center in Chicago.
Joshua’s mandatory defense of his WBA title versus Povetkin (34-1, 24 KOs) will headline DAZN’s first boxing show September 22 from Wembley Stadium in London.
If the 28-year-old Joshua (21-0, 20 KOs) beats Russia’s Povetkin, he has committed to returning to Wembley Stadium for another fight April 13. Joshua and Hearn have said they want him to battle WBC champion Deontay Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) in that bout, but Miller hopes he is the American that gets that shot.
“I want it,” Miller said. “I want it bad. I’ll whip his ass in Wembley. I’ll be the face of Wembley after I whip that ass.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.