Jarrell Miller, whether you agree with it or not, is once again a player in the heavyweight division.
That is if he continues to test negative for prohibited substances until June 16, when his two-year drugs ban comes to an end, as he has done since voluntarily signing up with VADA last August.
Promoter Dmitry Salita believes his fighter will do just that. He also believes the heavyweight – who is currently in the UK sparring Tyson Fury ahead of his bout against Dillian Whyte on April 23 – will be ready for the division’s elite within the next 12 months.
Jarrell Miller is set to return to the ring in June or July after his two-year drugs ban ends
Dmitry Salita (left) insists ‘Big Baby’ can compete with the division’s best within 12 months
‘Pending the Commission’s permission, we’d like it [Miller’s return] to be the end of June,’ Salita told Sportsmail. ‘End of June or early July – as soon as possible.
‘He’s been training, he’s in shape. As soon as the Commission allows him to get a licence and as soon as we find him an appropriate date and TV partner to work with, he’ll be back in the ring.’
Salita’s positive sentiment comes after clarification from the Nevada State Athletic Commission during their monthly meeting last week, where it was confirmed the American can obtain a boxing licence from June 17 as per the conditions outlined above.
It follows a backdated two-year ban received in December 2020 after Miller tested positive for banned substance GW501516 – also known as cardarine and endurobol – leading up to his bout against Jerry Forrest in July of that year.
That came just months after Miller tested positive for multiple banned substances ahead of his 2019 bout against Anthony Joshua, which was instantly scrapped, though the American then escaped punishment with the New York State Athletic Commission powerless after it emerged his licence had expired.
Already preparing for his imminent return, Miller then received a major boost after receiving an invitation from the Fury camp to join the team ahead of the Gypsy King’s Wembley Stadium sellout against Whyte next month.
Miller is now in the UK having joined Tyson Fury’s camp ahead of his fight vs Dillian Whyte
Tyson Fury is set to defend his WBC heavyweight title against ‘The Body Snatcher’ on April 23
‘They were looking for fighters who can physically emulate Dillian Whyte, and Jarrell’s been in the gym for a long time. He’s been consistent in the gym since the summer,’ Salita said.
‘Boxing is a small community, they knew he was in shape and it just worked out that way. I think it’s beneficial for both fighters.’
From a boxing perspective alone it’s a no brainer. It’s an opportunity for Miller to test himself, not only against Fury but fellow training partners Joseph Parker and Martin Bakole.
Fury, meanwhile, quickly inherits a capable replacement after previous sparring partner Jared Anderson picked up an untimely injury. From a moral standpoint the lines are more blurred; the UK public have rather unanimously signaled their disapproval since the news of Miller’s UK arrival broke.
But for Salita – and, of course, Miller – a stint in the UK is a more than welcome bonus.
‘Jarrell’s motivation is to be heavyweight champion of the world, so getting some boxing with the No1 heavyweight… only good can come out of it,’ Salita said.
‘It’s great for Jarrell, who’s been out of the ring for such a long time, to join and attend a high-level training camp with Tyson Fury, who’s getting ready for a significant fight.
‘Even though Jarrell hasn’t fought in years, a lot of it is about mental attitude and his, at this stage of his career, from what I see, is very serious. He wants to leave no stone unturned, get the work and experience he needs and be back in the ring in the most spectacular way.’
Salita insists Miller is ‘leaving no stones unturned’ ahead of his imminent comeback
Miller will now be a part of the Fury camp right up until fight night, Salita confirms, and the promoter also insists he wants ‘Big Baby’ sat ringside for the fight, with a bout in the UK very much on the agenda. That is not yet a done deal, it should be noted.
Who Miller will face in his comeback fight is an unknown for now, with no opponent currently in the pipeline. But a bout against the heavyweight elite is certainly the imminent target for Salita.
‘I think one or two fights, probably two, and he’ll be ready to take on the best,’ Salita explained.
‘Obviously, we’ll have to sit down and evaluate his progress after each fight, but I think Jarrell is hungry, he’s athletic, he’s focused and hopefully he’ll be able to perform at a high level.’
Salita last year stated Fury would be a desired opponent upon Miller’s return, and though insisting now is not the time to speak up a match-up, with the pair working alongside each other, he admitted that still remains the case.
‘I would love for them to fight down the line for sure,’ he said. ‘With their personalities, it would be one of the most fun and exciting promotions in boxing.
‘Let’s take it one step at a time. Jarrell at his best has the skills to beat anyone in the heavyweight division. But it’s not the time to talk about them fighting each other.
‘But Anthony Joshua, which was supposed to happen a couple of years ago and didn’t, that would be something I’m sure both guys would be interested in.’
He continued: ‘I think Jarrell is ready for Joshua – he just needs one fight to break a sweat and get the feeling again. I think Jarrell would be ready for Joshua in his next fight, honestly.’
Miller and Anthony Joshua clashed during a fiery build-up to their 2019 clash that never was
Salita insists Miller would be ready to square off against the former champion within 12 months
Of course, Joshua is currently unavailable with his rematch against Oleksandr Usyk set for the summer. There are multiple options out there in a thriving UK scene, however, including the likes of Whyte, Joe Joyce, Daniel Dubois, even Derek Chisora.
‘The UK has become the mecca of heavyweight boxing. All the names you’ve mentioned make a lot of sense,’ Salita said.
‘We’re interested in exploring big fights for Jarrell in the UK. The UK boxing fans are so passionate; I was in Wales with Claressa [Shields] last month and it was just so incredible.’
‘If you want to throw out some names, I would say Joshua, Dillian Whyte,’ he added.
Salita then insisted he didn’t want to ‘throw Tyson Fury’s name out there, as they’re in camp together’, but later clarified, insisting: ‘He’s boxing to be elite, he’s not boxing to fight Joseph Parker. He’s fighting to take on Fury, AJ and Usyk.’
Miller’s lofty ambitions of course require the heavyweight to stick to his word and stay clean. The multiple offender was also suspended for nine months in 2014 after testing positive for a banned substance for a kickboxing event.
Salita believes his fighter has now learned from his mistakes.
‘Jarrell’s a smart guy,’ he said. ‘He wants a chance to make the most of boxing and the most of his career. He understands what’s on the table here. Jarrell learned his lesson and he’ll be very careful about all of that.
‘As someone who’s known Jarrell since he was about 16 years old, I certainly believe in him. I believe he’ll make the right decisions and make the most of his career.
‘This is his final four, five years at the peak of his career. I believe he understands that and won’t let it go.
‘He signed up for testing himself since August and he’s passed every test since, which shows where his mindset is at. He signed up to show that he’s learned his lesson and he’s doing the right thing.’
Salita insists Miller has now learned from his mistakes ahead of his return to the ring
The promoter believes his fighter has served his time, having been out of action since 2018
Perhaps more than anyone, Salita has put his faith into Miller. Believing the American would become heavyweight champ from the first time he saw him in action, he gained a tremendous amount of pride in guiding him towards a world title shot against Joshua.
Though the fight ultimately was abandoned, and while Salita insists there is no place for PEDs in the sport, the promoter upon reflection felt his fighter deserved another chance.
And having served his time, Salita insists the American’s return is just.
‘Jarrell hasn’t fought since 2018,’ he said. ‘Boxing is the way he makes money for his family and for himself. He made a plea to the commission.
‘It’s the Commission’s job to police our sport, and I think being out of the ring for four years – and not being able to support your family during the pandemic – is quite difficult.
‘With that being said, cheating in any capacity is something that we shouldn’t tolerate in boxing.
‘But Jarrell did serve a significant amount of time, maybe his elite years, his peak years out of the ring. He certainly he missed out of several life-changing opportunities. I think that he understands it and that he’s learned his lesson.’