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Anthony Joshua vs Kubrat Pulev done for June 20

Image: Anthony Joshua vs Kubrat Pulev done for June 20

By Dean Berman: Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn has completed the negotiations for Anthony Joshua’s defense of his IBF heavyweight title against mandatory Kubrat Pulev for June 20th in London, England. Michael Benson is staying that Hearn has the fight done.

Joshua-Pulev isn’t a fight that boxing fans are asking for but it’s necessary for AJ to make this fight so that he can keep his IBF title. There are a small handful of fans that want to see Joshua defend against Pulev, but not many. Pulev looks old, slow and past it at this point in his career.

Hearn: Joshua might vacate WBO title to take Fury fight in December

“What’s due is the Kubrat Pulev mandatory in June, and then the Oleksandr Usyk mandatory in November or December,” said Hearn on Friday. “Oleksandr Usyk is fighting Dereck Chisora in May, and anything can happen in that fight. And if AJ vacates that WBO title and he may have to in order to fight Tyson Fury, it’ll be Usyk against Joseph Parker for the World, which is a great fight,” said Hearn.

WBO mandatory Usyk could be out in the cold when it comes to a fight against Joshua, as Hearn is saying that AJ might vacate the belt. The idea is if Joshua and Tyson Fury fight in December, then Joshua will probably need to vacate his WBO belt.

Usyk won’t want to wait until 2021 for his title shot. He wants to fight Joshua later this year after he beats Dereck Chisora on May 23 at the O2 Arena in London.

Fury unlikely to face Joshua in 2020

Hearn likes the idea of Usyk fighting Parker for the World Boxing Organization title when/if Joshua vacates that title. Joshua won’t vacate the WBO belt unless he gets the Fury fight in December, which sounds far-fetched. Joshua could potentially get the Fury fight this year, but it’s doubtful.

If Fury beats Wilder in the trilogy match, he’ll want to rest and celebrate. It would be a bit much to ask Fury to get back into training camp soon after he faces Wilder in July.

One gets the sense that Hearn never wanted to put Joshua in with Usyk. He’s never seemed as eager to put a fight together between Joshua and Usyk as he has with AJ and Pulev.

Hearn is hoping that if  WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury faces Deontay Wilder in their trilogy match in July, then Joshua will fight the winner in December. Hearn sees it as a slam dunk that Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) will defeat Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs), and then move ahead and take the fight with AJ before the end of the year.

IBF/WBA/WBO champion Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) will need to do his part by beating Pulev (28-1, 14 KOs) on June 20th for a fight between him and Fury to have a shot at getting made this December. Most boxing fans believe that Joshua will destroy the 38-year-old Oulev without any problems.

Hearn confident Joshua vs. Fury happens in December

“History will tell you that when there’s so much money involved in a fight, they naturally happen,” said Hearn when asked whether a fight between Joshua and Fury can be made.

“You had a fight between Fury and Wilder, and you had Bob Arum and Al Haymon, who don’t particularly like each other, and who have been taking potshots at each other time and time again.

“Every now and then the amount of money presents itself where all of a sudden Bob Arum and Al Haymon become very good friends,” said Hearn. “And that can happen quite easily, and that can happen with the networks as well.

“You’ve got the difference between Fury and Joshua with ESPN and DAZN where you’ve got one that is a pay-per-view model and the other is a subscription model, and these guys are going to have to sit down with each other to work that out.

“It’s our job to make this fight. I promise you that Anthony Joshua is desperate for this fight. I know that Tyson Fury will accept this challenge and make this fight. I’m 100 percent sure this fight will get made. It’s just a question of whether that’s this summer or more likely in December 2020,” said Hearn.

It would be better for Hearn to assume that Fury doesn’t fight Joshua in December, because he doesn’t want to get his hopes up.

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