Anthony Joshua set for Kubrat Pulev battle as Eddie Hearn confirms December O2 fight plan

Anthony Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, has confirmed the British heavyweight champion plans to fight Kubrat Pulev in the first week of December. After winning back his WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight titles against Andy Ruiz Jr, all the talk was about Joshua facing either Tyson Fury or Deontay Wilder next.

But Pulev is the IBF’s mandatory challenger and Joshua must fight him first before looking at a potential blockbuster bout against Wilder or Fury.

A fight against Pulev was originally pencilled in for June 20 at the state-of-the-art Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

However, the coronavirus pandemic led to the bout being cancelled.

Hearn has since created a new-look boxing event in post-lockdown, which is being hosted in his own back garden.

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No fans are able to attend the Matchroom Fight Camp though and the boxing promoter knows the setting won’t be fit for a fight including Joshua.

The 30-year-old has always sold out arenas wherever he’s fought and Hearn is hopeful of hosting Joshua’s fight against Pulev at London’s O2 arena with fingers crossed spectators will be allowed in.

“We know AJ’s only going to fight once this year, so we want to give ourselves the best opportunity to bring in a crowd, and that would obviously be the later the better,” Hearn told ESPN.

“But it’s still not a gimme at all.

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“There’s still a very strong chance that AJ will have to fight behind closed doors.”

He added: “Bearing in mind he’s only going to fight once this year, I just feel as we might as well give ourselves every chance to have a crowd and that will be the first weekend of December.

“[The O2’s] regulations comply with the government, so at the moment they’re closed.

“So they would need to open up.

“We’d need to get an understanding from the government what is allowed in arenas. Are you going to open at 50 percent [capacity]?

“Are you going to open up 100 percent?

“There’s a lot of work that has to go into that with the government and the O2.”

“He must box this year, and obviously it’s up to me to find a solution and a crowd.

“But he also knows at the same time, he must fight because it will be a year in December since the Ruiz fight.

“He’s still improving, he’s still learning, and he’s not prepared to just sit out and not fight.”

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