Fighting talk: Positive drugs test for Anthony Joshua opponent casts doubt on Josh Kelly's USA debut

Josh Kelly's long-awaited USA debut could be in danger with the news that a fighter in the main event has tested positive for a banned substance.

By Liam Kennedy
Wednesday, 17 April, 2019, 19:50
Anthony Joshua.

Jarell 'Big Baby' Miller looks set to be hit with a doping ban after the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) recorded an ‘adverse finding’ in a drug test taken from Miller in March.

That has placed his heavyweight clash against unified champion Anthony Joshua, set for Madison Square Garden on June 1, into doubt.

Ryhope welterweight Josh Kelly fights this weekend, LIVE on Sky Sports.

Kelly was set to fight on the Matchroom USA card, making his debut Stateside as a B side to Joshua making waves across the pond.

Without an opponent for that particular fight, Kelly had been slated in by Eddie Hearn as one of the main features in a "step up fight", likely against US or Mexican opposition. That looks to also be in jeopardy, should the AJ bout and event as a whole, get pulled.

Having done all of the promotion, in the UK and US, and with a DAZN US TV contract to satisfy, the last thing in the world Hearn will want to do is scratch June 1 from the schedule. For that reason alone there remains hope Sunderland's 25-year-old Commonwealth welterweight king will get his way.

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Hearn has named Luis Ortiz, Adam Kownacki, Kubrat Pulev, Michael Hunter and Manuel Charr as potential opponents for Joshua, but with just six weeks to sort it, few will want to get in with the unbeaten former GB world and Olympic gold medalist at such short notice, without a proper camp.

"I spoke to AJ last night (Tuesday)," said Hearn.

"It’s not an ideal situation and we have to wait and see what happens with Jarrell.

"If he is unable to fight, AJ will still be fighting June 1 in Madison Square Garden. He has told me he will fight absolutely anyone and so we are looking at our options right now."

Miller tested positive for banned substance GW1516 last month. The substance is a muscle growth enhancer which also aids weight loss.

Kelly, who is next in action on Saturday when he takes on unbeaten Pole Przemyslaw Runowski at the O2 Arena, London, must now play the waiting game.