The anticipated next title defense for Unified Heavyweight Champ, Anthony Joshua, against IBF #1 contender, Kubrat Pulev, apparently has a tentative rescheduled date and location. And, there’s a chance that there could be some fans in attendance.
That’s according to a report from boxing insider, Dan Rafael, who wrote Monday afternoon for Boxingscene.com that Joshua – Pulev of is cautiously being discussed for December 12th at the O2 Arena in London,
The heavyweight title fight between @anthonyfjoshua & @KubratPulev has a new date/site penciled in. My story for @boxingscene: https://t.co/n1o1gn4QX1 #boxing #JoshuaPulev @EddieHearn @MatchroomBoxing @Frank_1_Smith
— Dan Rafael (@DanRafael1) August 31, 2020
Rafael got comments from Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn confirming the tentative date and the desire to have at least some fans present for the showdown,
“Yes, Dec. 12 at the O2 is the plan for AJ,” Hearn told the site.
“We are happy that the fight appears to be back on track and that we have a new date and site,” said promoter John Wirth of Epic Sports, who handles Pulev with Top Rank. “There is still some tweaking to do on the contract but we are optimistic it should be concluded this week.”
Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) and the 38 year old Pulev, who has been top ranked by the IBF since last year, would battle in the WBA, WBO, and IBF title holder’s first fight, since he won his rematch on decision from American Andy Ruiz in December. Joshua has also been rehabbing a slight left knee injury suffered in June in training. It is believed that the injury is fully healed and he is ready to go, now.
Joshua had originally signed up to defend against the Bulgarian in June at London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in front of over 65,000 fans. However, the Covid-19 pandemic scuttled that and has delayed the fight now into this Fall.
Hearn has been exploring numerous alternative sites besides the U.K., including possibly returning to Saudi Arabia or maybe as Rafael reported Monday, possibly staging the fight in Pulev’s home country. However, England makes the most sense for interest and financially for the fight.
Hearn and organizers could potentially have 8-9,000 fans attend in the 19,000 seat O2 arena.
There is also the intriguing angle of a potential Joshua-Tyson Fury Undisputed Title fight in 2021? Hearn has previously confirmed that Fury co-promoters, Bob Arum of Top Rank in Frank Warren of Queensberry Promotions have agreed to a two fight deal with Joshua with an automatic rematch clause.
Of course that supposes that Joshua is successful against the 38 year old Pulev and more risky, Fury still has to defeat former WBC champion, Deontay Wilder, whom he stopped in February to regain a portion of the Heavyweight Championship.
As we wrote on Saturday evening, Fury called out Joshua during the Queensbury’s live fight broadcast on BT Sport. That’s where Fury was an invited guest to have discussion about his future.
As it stands, the Fury-Wilder third fight is also tentatively scheduled for the following weekend, December 19th and probably in Las Vegas.
There is speculation that Top Rank and Premier Boxing Champions, which handles Wilder, will stage the fight at the new Allegiant Stadium, home of the Las Vegas Raiders of the NFL.
That facility could hold upwards of 20,000 or more fans, easily socially distanced for the third fight and have a massive live gate revenue.