Eddie Hearn says Joshua vs. Pulev possible for November at O2
By Kenneth Friedman: Anthony Joshua and Kubrat Pulev could be fighting in November at the O2 Arena in London in front of a limited size crowd, according to Eddie Hearn.
He wants Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) to defend his IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight titles in the UK, and he’s hoping that by November, crowds will be allowed back in.
Pulev (28-1, 14 KOs) and Joshua were going to be fighting earlier this year, but the pandemic made it necessary for the date to be moved. November isn’t a sure thing for the fight, as he may need to be moved again.
What Hearn doesn’t want is for Joshua to have to defend against Pulev outside of the UK because it’s been a while since British fans have been able to see AJ fight.
Joshua won back his three heavyweight titles in beating Andy Ruiz Jr last December in Saudi Arabia. This was another fight that Hearn had hoped would take place in the UK, but he couldn’t resist the large offer from the Saudis.
Joshua vs. Pulev in November
“November,” said Hearn to IFL TV when asked about news on the date for Joshua vs. Pulev. “I want that fight to happen in the UK. It could be at the O2 Arena [in London].
“It could be in a major arena again because if we’re not allowed outdoors in front of 80,000, then maybe we go to a major arena and put AJ there.
“I want him to fight here in the UK, and that’s the plan. Probably November time for Kubrat Pulev,” said Hearn.
A limited size crowd is a piece of disappointing news for the Joshua vs. Pulev fight, but there’s not much choice. The pandemic isn’t going away, and the UK government isn’t likely going to be allowing large crowds by November.
That’s when the second wave of the COVID-19 virus is expected to hit, and it could be worse than the first wave. That’s what some experts are predicting.
Joshua wants to get the Pulev fight over with so that he can move on to face either WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury or his WBO mandatory Oleksandr Usyk. Deontay Wilder could insert himself into the equation if he pulls off an upset and beats Fury later this year in their trilogy match.
Wilder will be the underdog for that fight, but his power makes him a real threat to Fury. If Wilder beats Fury, then a Joshua-Wilder match would still be a massive contest in the UK for 2021. All the different scenarios make it interesting for next year.
What would be a real shocker is if Pulev beats Joshua and Wilder defeats Fury. We’d end up seeing Pulev and Wilder fighting in 2021, possibly. Dillian Whyte will want his title shot against Wilder next February.
Usyk vs. Chisora expected for October
“Looking for October,” said Hearn when asked when Dereck Chisora vs. Oleksandr Usyk fight will take place. “Again, the same kind of thing.
“We’re now looking at the options of whether we can stage it in front of three to four thousand people or one thousand people or if we’ll even be allowed back into the O2.
“You saw Dubois-Joyce got announced for the O2. Maybe it’s back up and running again. It’s 50-50 for those kinds of dates. Usyk-Chisora in the works as well,” said Hearn.
Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs) vs. Dereck Chisora (32-9, 23 KOs) at the O2 Arena would also be an excellent location for this fight. Chisora, 36, wouldn’t be able to take advantage of his large fan base if the battle with Usyk takes place behind closed doors, but what are you going to do?
Chisora will need to make the best of things and hope that he can knockout Usyk to move forward to a match Joshua.
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