Croatia A Potential Destination For Joshua-Pulev
In an attempt to keep a mandatory IBF Heavyweight Title fight between Anthony Joshua and Kubrat Pulev alive, an alternative destination for the bout has been offered.
Joshua and Pulev (28-1) were originally scheduled to face one another inside Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on June 20. The fight was postponed due to the coronavirus, and Matchroom Boxing is looking to host the fight at another date to be determined. The British Boxing Board of Control is hoping to host events in July, potentially without fans. Eddie Hearn has made it clear he prefers Joshua to fight with fans inside an arena.
As a result, Pulev’s manager Ivaylo Gotsev told Bulgarian media is looking at alternatives, while also giving Joshua’s camp an ultimatum. He stated the new date for the fight could be in August for September.
“We have given ourselves [the two camps] four weeks to look for a new territory if the situation and measures in England do not change,” Gotsev stated, via ESPN.
“We are discussing Croatia, there is a unique Roman stadium — Pula Arena, there and we are in active talks.”
Pula Arena in Croatia is one of the most historical landmarks in the world. Built between 27 BC and 68 AD, the amphitheater was used for a variety of reasons, most notably gladiator fights. Recently, it has been used for concerts, films, and hockey matches.
“We like this option because it is in Europe, in the middle of the continent,” Gotsev went on to say. “The arena itself predisposes to an unprecedented event in our time. There will also be an opportunity for spectators with the right measures taken.
“They can’t meet in Bulgaria because Joshua will not agree. He wanted to fight at home but force majeure brought a change. Kubrat, however, was ready to fight in Joshua’s backyard, even if the judges were his family.”
Pulev’s team is looking to keep the fight going after it was rumored that Joshua’s team was in contact with Tyson Fury’s team for a clash. That would mean Pulev and Deontay Wilder, who Fury is scheduled to face in a trilogy bout with, would be left in the dark. Pulev is not concerned, as the fight between the two has been signed for already. They were supposed to fight one another in 2017, but Pulev pulled out due to injury.
Joshua just beat Andy Ruiz Jr. in a rematch of their June bout to reclaim the WBA, IBF, WBO, and IBO Heavyweight Titles. The bout was in Saudi Arabia, a location that Hearn has had in mind for future fights. Pulev’s team is willing to negotiate if the terms are fair.
“There must be mutual consent. We want the conditions and rules to be favourable for both parties,” Gotsev said, via Sky Sports. Hearn is talking about the Middle East and we have left it to him to communicate in that direction.”
Will we end up seeing Joshua v. Pulev after all?