Anthony Joshua’s heavyweight world title defence against Kubrat Pulev has been confirmed for December 12 in London.
As expected, the clash for Joshua’s IBF, WBA and WBO world titles will be behind closed doors at The O2, though promoter Eddie Hearn is still exploring options of a limited crowd in the event that Covid regulations allow.
Joshua, who hasn’t fought since his rematch win against Andy Ruiz last December and will box in Britain for the first time in more than two years, is expected to face Tyson Fury in 2021, assuming he suffers no upset against the Bulgarian.
Anthony Joshua’s heavyweight world title defence against Kubrat Pulev has been confirmed
Joshua’s clash against the Bulgarian will as expected take place behind closed doors in London
The fight will take place on December 12 as Joshua defends his IBF, WBA and WBO world titles
He said: ‘December 12 is the date and once again the heavyweight belts go up in the air and it is my sole focus to make sure that come December 13 they are in their rightful place in the UK.
‘The O2 is the original lion’s den, I have a lot of history with the arena, but without the fans something huge is missing. I am really hoping that, safety permitting, we might be able to bring some boxing fans in, but we will have to see. I respect every opponent and I respect Pulev. I wish him well during his preparation.’
Pulev, with 28 wins and one defeat, is Joshua’s mandatory challenger with the IBF. He was due to face Joshua in 2017 in Cardiff but withdrew with injury.
Promoter Eddie Hearn is still exploring options of a limited crowd in the event at The O2
Joshua is also expected to face Tyson Fury in 2021 assuming he defeats Bulgarian Pulev
He said: ‘For a small country of Bulgaria to stand up for the heavyweight titles is a great accomplishment. This fight is for my late father and all Bulgarians around the world. I’m coming to London to seize the heavyweight championship of the world.’
Hearn said: ‘After a challenging year for everyone, to end with the unified world heavyweight championship is very special. Over a year after regaining his crown, Anthony Joshua takes on yet another dangerous opponent in mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev. AJ’s resume is unrivalled, and this is the final hurdle until we challenge for the undisputed crown next year.
‘Whilst it’s unusual to think of an AJ fight without tens of thousands of fans in attendance, we will be doing everything we can to lobby for the safe return of fans to this event, we have to move forward together.
‘I know Team Pulev and Bob Arum will be doing all they can to become world champion on December 12 but AJ constantly evolves and improves and I expect a dominant performance and a spectacular KO to close out 2020.’
Pulev, with 28 wins and one defeat, is Joshua’s mandatory challenger with the IBF
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