World heavyweight boxing champ Anthony Joshua will bring a spectacular ending to the boxing year with a crucial world title clash against Kubrat Pulev, rescheduled to take place at The O2 on 12 December 2020.
Joshua will now receive his hotly anticipated first fight on UK soil in over two years when he faces Pulev in a mandatory fight to defend his WBA ‘super’ IBF and WBO belts.
The British professional boxer of Nigerian descent regained his titles from Mexican Andy Ruiz Jr in a rematch victory in Saudi Arabia last December and would try as much as possible this time to avoid another shock setback against the Bulgarian.
It is also believed that negotiations are ongoing for an undisputed world title fight with WBC champion Tyson Fury in 2021.
“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,” says Joshua.
“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 is planning a stunning win in his second world title shot following a sole defeat to Wladimir Klitschko in 2014. An injury forced Pulev out of a scheduled fight against Joshua at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium in October 2017, but he is confident of pulling magic.
“For a small country of Bulgaria to stand up for the heavyweight titles is a great accomplishment,” says Pulev.
“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.”
Promoter Eddie Hearn says: “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.”
Bob Arum, Top Rank Chairman, says: “Eddie Hearn better watch out. Kubrat Pulev is going to destroy his plan for a Joshua-Tyson Fury unification fight.”