The pursejJoshua-Kubrat Pulev heavyweight title fight won’t be necessary.
Promoter Eddie Hearn informed BoxingScene.com on Thursday that he has reached an agreement with Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc., Pulev’s co-promoter, to finalize a deal for the Joshua-Pulev fight. Hearn confirmed that Joshua-Pulev will take place June 20 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, a new soccer venue in London.
Bulgaria’s Pulev (28-1, 14 KOs) is the IBF’s number one contender for Joshua’s title. England’s Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) also owns the IBO, WBA and WBO crowns. Earlier this week, the IBF ordered a Joshua-Pulev purse bid for Tuesday, but Hearn said all that’s left to complete the deal is paperwork.
Joshua also has a mandatory defense of his WBO belt due, but that fight won’t take place until late this year at the earliest. Former undisputed cruiserweight champ Oleksandr Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs) is the WBO’s number one contender, but the unbeaten Ukrainian southpaw will have to beat British contender Dereck Chisora (32-9, 23 KOs) in a fight Hearn confirmed has been rescheduled for May 23 to remain in that position.
The 38-year-old Pulev was supposed to challenge a then-unbeaten Joshua for his IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO titles in October 2017 at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. He suffered a shoulder injury during training camp, though, and pulled out of that fight less than two weeks in advance.
Cameroon’s Carlos Takam replaced Pulev and lost by 10th-round technical knockout.
Joshua, 30, regained his titles December 7, when he out-boxed Andy Ruiz Jr. in their 12-round rematch in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia. Ruiz (33-2, 22 KOs) dropped Joshua four times and upset him by seventh-round TKO on June 1 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Pulev has won eight straight fights since suffering his lone loss – a fifth-round knockout defeat to former champion Wladimir Klitschko in November 2014 in Hamburg, Germany.