Anthony Joshua will push on with plans to fight on June 1 despite Jarrell Miller’s failed drugs test – and Luis Ortiz and Adam Kownacki are the top targets to replace Miller if he is suspended.
Sportsmail understands a shortlist of five names that also includes Kubrat Pulev, Michael Hunter and Manuel Charr has hastily been put together for the Madison Square Garden bout in the event that Miller’s B sample also tests positive.
It was revealed in the early hours of Wednesday morning that the American had tested positive on March 20 for muscle growth substance GW1516.
GW1516 was developed in the 1990s as a treatment for diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease.
It works by forcing skeletal muscle to use fat rather than carbohydrates as an energy source.
While it is used by some to accelerate fat loss, it also has real benefits as an endurance aid for athletes.
He is expected to imminently request that his B sample is tested and if that returns a positive, he will almost certainly not be granted a licence by the New York State Athletic Commission.
The substance was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s banned list in 2009.
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn told Sportsmail: “I spoke to AJ last night. 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.”
Ortiz feels less likely as preparations to face a tricky southpaw amount to less than seven weeks.
The Cuban is ranked three with the WBC and eight by the IBF, while Poland-born New Yorker Kownacki is 19-0 and is ranked fifth by the WBC, fourth with the IBF and No 13 by the WBA.