There are still plans to have Anthony Joshua defend his heavyweight titles against mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev, but it might take place in a small venue.
Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn spoke with Sky Sports Boxing and discussed the current status of that fight for the unified WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight titles. Hearn said his current goal is to make sure the fight stays in the United Kingdom, despite interest from countries outside the United Kingdom.
However, with current government regulations to help combat the current coronavirus pandemic, putting that fight in a major football (soccer) stadium with max capacity in the coming months seems to be slowly moving away from being a feasible goal. Instead, Hearn said he’s looking at small venues to stage the fight instead of having it done in an empty arena or studio setting.
“Although I do expect to see crowds back this year, right now, we’re working under the assumption that AJ vs. Pulev will not be to take place in a venue the size of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club [Stadium]. Our absolute priority with AJ vs. Pulev is to stage the fight in the UK. It’s great for sports coming back, businesses coming back. Let’s get the world heavyweight title fight going. Yes, we’ve had interest from the Middle East, the Far East. We’ve yet to receive anything official from Croatia, but I know they’re interested as well. We’d like to do it here and we are looking at venues that are smaller because I think as we open live gates and as the government changes their restrictions and legislations regarding mass gatherings. I do think it will go that way for 500 to 1,000 to 5,000. There is the possibility of staging AJ’s fight in the UK. I don’t think it will take place behind closed doors, but I think if we can get some kind of number together, we can create some type of exclusive event to keep fighting in the UK,” Hearn said.
The fight was originally scheduled to take place at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in June, but it was pushed back indefinitely due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic has also pushed back multiple Matchroom Boxing cards in the United Kingdom and United States.