File Picture: British boxer Anthony Joshua speaks in the course of the annual Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey in London on March 09, 2020. Ben STANSALL / POOL / AFP
Anthony Joshua’s world heavyweight title defence in opposition to obligatory challenger Kubrat Pulev has been formally postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak, promoters Matchroom Sport introduced Friday.
The British champion was attributable to put his WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO belts up for grabs in opposition to Bulgarian challenger Pulev on the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on June 20.
However the international unfold of COVID-19 has put paid to a bout on that date.
“Anthony Joshua’s defence of his IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO heavyweight world titles against mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev scheduled to take place at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday, June 20 has been postponed,” mentioned a Matchroom assertion.
“A brand new date for the occasion promoted by Matchroom Boxing and 258 Administration in affiliation with Prime Rank and Epic Sports activities Leisure is at the moment being labored on.
“We are going to announce any updates in the end and proceed to discover the potential for internet hosting this battle on the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.”
That is the second time Pulev has missed out on the possibility to face Joshua after a shoulder damage pressured him out of a world title bout in October 2017.
– Fury Choice –
Earlier on Friday, Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter, mentioned his champion’s lone contest of 2020 could be with Tyson Fury in a world unification bout if the unfold of COVID-19 means he solely has time for one bout this yr.
A conflict with compatriot Fury, the WBC heavyweight champion could be some of the eagerly anticipated contests in British boxing historical past.
Hearn, whereas open to the potential for the Pulev battle being postponed till the tip of July warned any additional delay might see a change of plan.
“If it starts kicking on beyond that, you get to a situation where if Joshua is only going to box once this year he’d like it to be against Tyson Fury,” Hearn informed Sky Sports activities.
Fury is anticipated to finish his trilogy with Deontay Wilder later in 2020, having dethroned the American in February, however Hearn is hopeful some negotiations may very well be doable.
“The situation is a little bit out of our hands,” he mentioned. “If Bob Arum and Al Haymon (Fury and Wilder’s promoters) can speak and make Deontay Wilder wait slightly bit we’d love to enter that battle subsequent.
“We’re contractually sure to face Pulev who’s with Bob Arum and there’s a deal to be achieved. Rather a lot is dependent upon Deontay Wilder.”
Joshua suffered a shock seventh-round defeat by Andy Ruiz Jr at New York’s Madison Sq. Backyard in June final yr that noticed him relinquish a number of world titles.
However his final bout noticed the 30-year-old Joshua avenge that loss and regain his belts with a victory over Ruiz in Saudi Arabia in December.