The fight will take place at the The O2 Arena in London, on Saturday December 12
Anthony Joshua will defend his IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO world titles against mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev at The O2 in London on Saturday December 12. The event will be live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and on DAZN, promoted by Matchroom Boxing in association with Top Rank and Epic Sports and Entertainment.
Victory for Joshua will set up a blockbuster contest in 2021 with WBC Champion and fellow Briton Tyson Fury for the undisputed heavyweight crown, arguably the richest fight in British boxing history.
The Pulev fight will mark Joshua’s first fight on UK soil in over two years, since he defended his crowns with a devastating seventh round knockout of Russia’s Alexander Povetkin at Wembley Stadium. Since then, the Watford heavyweight has lost and regained all the belts to Mexican-American Andy Ruiz.
Pulev, the IBF’s No.1-ranked heavyweight mandatory challenger, gets his second shot at world honours after his defeat to modern legend Wladimir Klitschko in 2014 – the only loss of his 29-fight professional career. He has won six fights in a row since then, including victories over Derek Chisora and an IBF eilminator win over Hughie Fury in 2018.
The Bulgarian boxer had been set to challenge Joshua at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium in October 2017 but was forced to withdraw through an injury. He will now get his opportunity to ruin the champion’s plans to face Fury in an all-British blockbuster showdown in the future.
Joshua remarked on Friday: “December 12 is the date and once again the Heavyweight belts go up in the air and it is my sole focus to make sure that come December 13 they are in their rightful place in the UK.
“The O2 is the original lion’s den, I have a lot of history with the arena, but without the fans something huge is missing. I am really hoping that, safety permitting, we might be able to bring some boxing fans in, but we will have to see. I respect every opponent and I respect Pulev. I wish him well during his preparation.”
Pulev added: “For a small country of Bulgaria to stand up for the heavyweight titles is a great accomplishment. This fight is for my late father and all Bulgarians around the world. I’m coming to London to seize the Heavyweight Championship of the World.”
Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter, further added: “After a challenging year for everyone, to end with the unified World Heavyweight Championship is very special,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “Over a year after regaining his crown, Anthony Joshua takes on yet another dangerous challenger in mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev. AJ’s resume is unrivalled, and this is the final hurdle until we challenge for the undisputed crown next year.
“Whilst it’s unusual to think of an AJ fight without tens of thousands of fans in attendance, we will be doing everything we can to lobby for the safe return of fans to this event, we have to move forward together. I know Team Pulev and Bob Arum will be doing all they can to become World Champion on Dec 12 but AJ constantly evolves and improves and I expect a dominant performance and a spectacular KO to close out 2020.”
Bob Arum, Top Rank Chairman, said: “Eddie Hearn better watch out. Kubrat Pulev is going to destroy his plan for a Joshua-Tyson Fury unification fight.”