Eddie Hearn, promoter for IBF, IBO, WBA, WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, is still intending to move forward with plans to stage his boxer’s next fight in December. There is a tentative date of December 12 at the O2 Arena in London, for Joshua to make a mandatory defense against Kubrat Pulev.
The fight was initially planned for June 20 – but postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Hearn had been hoping to have a small crowd of fans at the December event. On Tuesday, a decision was made in the UK to further delay large gatherings due to a rise in coronavirus cases in the region.
That decision was a heavy blow to UK fight promoters who were planning to stage key events in the fall. Joshua has been out of the ring since December 2019 in Saudi Arabia, when he outboxed Andy Ruiz to reclaim his world titles. With or without a crowd, Hearn explains that Joshua must remain active in his career – and that means the British star will return to the ring behind closed doors.
Obviously today’s announcement is a massive challenge for everyone in sport. Our intention now is carry on with all our scheduled events, Hearn told Daily Mail. Clearly the finances are affected by not having crowds, even smaller crowds, but we’re working to keep our schedule. That includes Joshua. You have two options cancel or go ahead, quite possibly without a crowd.