Hearn Eyes Fall Booking For Joshua-Pulev
After there was some teasing regarding alternate plans for Anthony Joshua, it appears we are still on track for him to face Kubrat Pulev. It is now only a matter of when and where.
Matchroom Boxing’s Eddie Hearn went on Chris Mannix’s boxing podcast for Sports Illustrated to talk about an update regarding the bout. Originally scheduled for June 20 inside Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the fight for Joshua’s (23-1) WBA, IBF, WBO, and IBO Heavyweight Titles was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Hearn mentioned a new date for the fight as well as potential locations. Hearn also went into detail about holding a Joshua fight without fans, something which he has been against before.
“It’s the fight that I see happening,” Hearn said, via Boxing Scene. “You know, we’re all working together for other alternatives. We got approached from an amphitheater/coliseum in Croatia last week, and some guys who wanted to bring the fight out there. The Middle East have shown interest in that fight as well. We really wanted to do that fight in the UK. But it’s virtually impossible to do it.
“And to be honest, Chris, I don’t really wanna do an AJ fight behind closed doors. I just don’t think – you know, his whole career, his whole brand, hasn’t it, has been built on the fact that he is this huge draw. Tens of thousands of people, fireworks and ‘Sweet Caroline’ and screaming [fans].”
Pulev’s (28-1) manager Ivaylo Gotsev recommended Croatia to Hearn and Matchroom not that long ago. Gotsev and Pulev have been adamant about the fight taking place, even with rumors of a Joshua-Tyson Fury bout.
Recently, Hearn has talked about using the Matchroom Boxing UK location, his former childhood home, as a landing spot for fights. Joshua-Pulev will not be considered for the area due to how big the fight is. Hearn also revealed that Joshua would only be fighting once this year. As far as when the match will be taking place, Hearn gave a timeline that would be close to the end of summer and right before winter.
“To go and do it in a dark studio, an empty hall, just wouldn’t feel right,” earn went on to say. “So, AJ’s a little bit different, you know, in that there’s gonna be plenty of approaches and there has been already about staging that fight [outside the UK]. So, I see AJ fighting anywhere between September and November, to be honest with you.”
If the timeframe is correct, it would be close to when Deontay Wilder and Fury are scheduled to be fighting in a trilogy bout.
Joshua last fought in December, beating Andy Ruiz Jr. in Saudi Arabia to regain the titles he lost from him back in June. Pulev last fought in November, beating Rydell Booker via unanimous decision.