Jarrell Miller put his name in the world heavyweight title frame by forcing Mariusz Wach to be saved by a ninth-round stoppage in New York.
The out-spoken Brooklyn man dominated from start to finish in a bout in Nassau Coliseum, Long Island, that was always likely to move him into the world top 10.
Miller had mocked British rival Dillian Whyte’s failure to topple the towering Robert Helenius in Cardiff two weeks ago and went one better against the experienced Pole.
‘Big Baby’ was determined to send out a statement amid the discussions and debates involving compatriot Deontay Wilder, Anthony Joshua, Joseph Parker and even Tyson Fury – and he did just that.
Miller’s jab was a constant threat for the first four rounds and a smart left uppercut and an overhand right showed he not only talks a good game.
Wach’s nose was bloodied in the second round and post-fight reports say he had broken his right hand, but by the fourth, Miller was backing him up and letting his shots go.
The fifth round was the first time Miller landed at will and with little coming back, he spent the entire round on the front foot and finding gaps.
Wach was looked at by the ringside doctor at the end of the sixth, and after struggling again in the seventh, another examination suggested it was not if but when ‘Big Baby’ was going to move to 20-0.
The victory came just over a minute into the ninth, with the doctor on the ring apron the referee stepped in, leaving Miller ready to get into the mix with the big boys of heavyweight boxing.
Fellow Brooklyn fighter Cletus Seldin moved towards a world-title tilt of his own, stopping Roberto Ortiz in three bloody rounds.
The ‘Hebrew Hammer’ had his man down twice in the opening round – the first one within 14 seconds – before opening a nasty cut to the Mexican’s eye.
Hard-hitting, fast-talking, super-lightweight Seldin continued to land heavy shots before it was brought to a halt towards the end of the third. Seldin moved to 21-0-KO17 and believes he should now get a crack at recently-crowned IBF world champion Sergey Lipinets.