Joshua title defense won’t take place before October, promoter says

Anthony Joshua’s heavyweight title defense against Kubrat Pulev will be pushed back until at least October because of the coronavirus crisis, his promoter said on Thursday.

Britain’s Joshua was originally scheduled to fight the Bulgarian at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on June 20, with a second date in July also mooted after the pandemic took hold.

Promoter Eddie Hearn said the bout would not happen for several months but he hopes it can be fitted in before the end of the year.

“With everything going on and the fact we have no idea yet about when we will be allowed crowds, and what size crowds, it won’t be the summer,” Hearn told the Daily Mail on Thursday.

“I think it will be in the window between October and December. Sooner would be better than later because we don’t want it to be a year between fights.”

Joshua has not fought since beating Andy Ruiz Jr to win the WBA, IBF and WBO belts in Saudi Arabia in December.

It is possible the Pulev clash could be staged in the Gulf state as well.

Hearn also hinted he would like Joshua to face British rival Tyson Fury in two mega-fights in 2021.

WBC champion Fury is reportedly keen for Deontay Wilder to accept a payment to forego his right to a rematch, which would pave the way for the Joshua bouts.

“Step-asides are messy and you don’t say never, but it is very unlikely. The plan would be for two fights with Fury in 2021 but we have to see,” Hearn said. (AFP)

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