Home Sports Anthony Joshua to face Kubrat Pulev in December - but fans may...

Anthony Joshua to face Kubrat Pulev in December – but fans may not be allowed in

staronline@reachplc.com (Chris McKenna)

Anthony Joshua is set to face Kubrat Pulev on December 12 at the O2 in London.

The WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight clash is pencilled in for that date pending coronavirus restrictions.

That is due to be a week before the provisional December 19 date for Tyson Fury’s WBC title defence against Deontay Wilder.

Promoter Eddie Hearn is hopeful fans will be allowed back into arenas by then.

Hearn is also confident he can run his next show this month – which is expected to be announced this week as the return of Joshua Buatsi – as a pilot event for the reintroduction of supporters.

But Matchroom are awaiting government approval before they can plan for fights with fans again.

Pulev is the mandatory for Joshua’s IBF title and the Bulgarian has been keen for the bout to be rescheduled after their June date at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was shelved due to the pandemic.

The belief has been that once Joshua beats Pulev and Fury takes on Wilder in December, then the British pair can take each other on in a huge undisputed clash next year.

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Dillian Whyte’s WBC mandatory was an issue but that disappeared last week when he was knocked out by Alexander Povetkin.

But another issue remains and that is a pending WBO mandatory for Joshua.

Ukraine’s former undisputed cruiserweight king Oleksandr Usyk holds that spot and he is not willing to let it go.

Usyk is due to face Derek Chisora later this year and will then turn his attention to forcing his No. 1 position with the WBO.

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“Usyk has been the WBO mandatory challenger for more than one year,” his co-promoter Alexander Krassyuk told Sky Sports.

“He has agreed to let AJ versus Pulev happen, with regards that the winner fights him next. This statement is still solid.

“Our plan is A) beat Derek Chisora B) push AJ to comply with WBO rules or vacate the title C) defeat AJ or any other WBO champion or contender and become the heavyweight champion. Simple and practical.”

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