Gotsev Provides Timeline On New Venue For Joshua-Pulev
In the ongoing quest to keep big fights alive, it is unsure the status of Anthony Joshua v. Kubrat Pulev. Now, Pulev’s manager is taking measures into his own hands.
Speaking with Sky Sports, Ivaylo Gotsev discussed the hiccup in getting the bout together. Joshua and Pulev were supposed to fight on June 20 inside Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for the former’s WBA, IBF, WBO, and IBO Heavyweight Titles. The fight was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Matchroom Boxing’s Eddie Hearn has been working on getting a venue, although he has admitted he would prefer Joshua to fight with fans in an arena.
Gotsev has suggested the fight take place in Croatia, while Hearn has discussed continuing to hold the bout in the United Kingdom or Saudi Arabia. Gotsev made it a point that safety is the main concern, but that the fight needs to have a set location.
“We’ve given ourselves four weeks to explore any and all opportunities that are there for the fight,” Gotsev stated. “Eddie has spoken to you about the Middle East, which is a great possibility. It makes sense, because those countries were not as hard affected and if you take the right precautions, we could really have a safe environment.
“That’s something I want to emphasise, and I can’t say it enough times – safety first. We don’t want to take a risk against anyone’s health, no way no how.”
There have been rumors of a Joshua-Tyson Fury bout which would throw all initial plans away. Pulev (28-1), however, dismissed the story as the two have a signed contract against one another. Both he and Gotsev are determined to keep the fight alive, following an initial bout with them in 2017 getting nixed due to a Pulev injury.
Gotsev has suggested Pula Arena, home of concerts and hockey bouts, as a venue. According to John Hopkins University, Croatia has only 2,196 cases of the coronavirus. With plans to protect every person involved at all cost, Gotsev believes Croatia, around the center of Europe, makes sense to host the fight.
“Croatia is one of the countries that was not hit very hard, as we know, and also with proper measurements, that could be the case where we’re not exposing everybody,” Gotsev went on to say. “An open-air stadium where you could spread out the crowd a little bit makes perfect sense.”
Pulev’s camp is interested in neutral ground. Even if the United Kingdom ends up being a location, Gotsev is not worried. He believes Pulev will get the job done either way.
“It was Joshua’s demand, ‘I want to go back home.’ Okay Joshua, you’re the champ, we respect that, we’re coming to the UK. Kubrat is coming there to kick your ass, in front of your crowd,” Gotsev said. “No problem. They are fighters, it’s one against the other. At the end of the day, the public can jump, scream and shout, but it’s man e mano in the ring, we’ve worked out that. To us, it didn’t matter that the fight is taking place in the UK.