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Joshua opponent to be confirmed next week - Hearn

The promoter has drawn up a list of names to fight AJ in June, and an announcement will be made next week.

Anthony Joshua
Anthony Joshua

ANTHONY JOSHUA IS set to find out who his next world title defence will be against early next week with promoter Eddie Hearn keen for an American-based challenger.

The Briton was due to defend his WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight belts against Jarrell Miller at Madison Square Garden on 1 June.

However, that bout has been thrown in jeopardy after Miller was refused a boxing licence for an “adverse finding” from a drugs test.

Hearn has a shortlist of potential replacements as Miller – who has denied wrongdoing and appealed against the decision to deny him a licence – awaits the results of a B-sample.

“Obviously it’s a fight in America, so from our point of view, we would like an American challenger really,” Hearn told Sky Sports News. “I don’t think it will be Dillian Whyte.

You go through the list [there's] Luis Ortiz, Adam Kownacki, Michael Hunter, Manuel Charr, Agit Kabayel, the European champion who beat Dereck Chisora.

“There’s probably seven or eight guys I think would fit the bill. Being an American debut, in an ideal world we would like it to be an American, or someone that fights in America.

“We’re going through that and we’re going to be working hard in the next couple of days.

There will be an announcement from us in the early part of next week, locking in Anthony Joshua’s next opponent.”

Ortiz is seen as a favourable option by Hearn, but he believes it would be a difficult fight to make.

“Luis Ortiz was one of the first people that I spoke to actually, his manager, a guy called Jay Jimenez, who we’ve worked with before,” Hearn added.

“He told me it was too short notice. I disagreed with him, but they are going to be speaking to their fighter.

I think the Luis Ortiz fight is a great fight, he has been promised the Deontay Wilder fight as well, by his team, which is a bit worrying for us to hear that news.

“I’m not sure if Ortiz is going to be the guy. Like I said, everyone has been calling.”

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