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Anthony Joshua is set to fight his mandatory IBF challenger Kubrat Pulev in AJ’s first and only fight of 2020
Anthony Joshua, who is slated to face Tyson Fury twice in 2021, has his sights set on the future as there are countless challengers vying for their chance to take out the champion. Kubrat Pulev is the first in line for a shot at the gold, as the two men are scheduled to go head-to-head on December 12.
The title defense against Pulev has been a long time coming. The two were supposed to face off in August 2017 before Pulev was forced to opt-out of the fight due to a shoulder injury that he suffered while training for the bout. They also had a bout scheduled in June of this year that got cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
While their most recent bout may have been cancelled due to the pandemic, there is significant speculation that this one may not be affected by it very much at all. Unlike most sporting events since the pandemic began, many believe that the fight could be held with fans in attendance. According to the guidelines that are used by the British government, if a region is marked as either Tier 1 or Tier 2, they are allowed to have an audience with the step-down, allowing a smaller number of people to attend the event. As such, if London were to be placed in Tier 2 then the venue could allow up to 1000 people in the audience. Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn has contacted the government as to what the fight would allow.
“We are set up there at the moment, and obviously the situation with a second lockdown has changed things,” said Hearn. “We were hoping for a crowd at the O2, maybe 4,000 people, and we might possibly be allowed 1,000, but it’s hard to say at this point.”
This fight had already come under fire from fans when it was announced that the battle would cost £24.95. Joshua’s previous pay-per-view event, which was his rematch against Andy Ruiz, also cost five pounds more than the standard pay-per-view cost in the UK, which has customarily always been £19.95.
While Pulev may be next up for Joshua, he will certainly stay busy with many competitors looking to knock him off his throne. There is significant speculation that Joshua could have a potential superfight on his hands within the next year between he and Oleksandr Usyk, as Usyk is the mandatory challenger for the WBO belt.