Unified World Heavyweight Champion Anthony Joshua OBE will defend his IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO world titles against mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev at the O2 in London on Saturday 12 December, live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and on DAZN in all of its nine markets, including the US, in a show promoted by Matchroom Boxing in association with Top Rank and Epic Sports and Entertainment.
Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) regained his belts and his position as the Unified World Heavyweight Champion with a masterful unanimous decision victory over Andy Ruiz Jr at the Diriyah Arena in Saudi Arabia on a historic night in December that they contested the world heavyweight titles. for the first time in the Middle East.
Dec. 12 will be ‘AJ’s first fight on British soil in more than two years, since he defended his crowns with a devastating seventh round knockout of Russian Alexander Povetkin at Wembley Stadium, and the former man of Finchley ABC will aim to deal with Pulev in style to set up an undisputed showdown against the WBC champion and fellow British Tyson Fury in 2021.
Pulev (28-1, 14 KOs), the IBF’s No. 1 mandatory heavyweight challenger, gets his second shot at world honors after his loss to modern legend Wladimir Klitschko in 2014, the only loss of his career. 29-fight professional. He has won six fights in a row since then, including victories over Derek Chisora and an IBF Eliminator victory over Hughie Fury in 2018.
The Bulgarian superstar was supposed to challenge Joshua at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium in October 2017, but was forced to withdraw due to injury and now has a chance to ruin the champion’s plans to face Fury in a highly successful showdown. box office in the future.
“December 12 is the date and once again the heavyweight belts are soaring in the air and it is my sole objective to make sure that on December 13 they are in their rightful place in the UK,” said Joshua.
“The O2 is the original lion’s den, I have a lot of history with the arena, but without the fans something huge is missing. I really hope that if security allows we can bring in some boxing fans, but we will have to see. I respect all opponents and I respect Pulev. I wish him the best during his preparation. “
“For a small country in Bulgaria defending the heavyweight titles is a great achievement,” said Pulev. “This fight is for my late father and for all Bulgarians in the world! I’m coming to London to win the World Heavyweight Championship. “
“After a challenging year for everyone, finishing with the unified World Heavyweight Championship is very special,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “More than a year after regaining his crown, Anthony Joshua faces another dangerous opponent in the Mandatory Challenger Kubrat Pulev. AJ’s resume is unrivaled, and this is the last hurdle until we challenge for the undisputed crown next year.
“While it is unusual to think of an AJ fight without the attendance of tens of thousands of fans, we will do everything we can to push for the safe return of fans to this event, we have to move forward together. I know that the Pulev team and Bob Arum will do their best to become World Champions on December 12, but AJ is constantly evolving and improving and I look forward to a dominant performance and a spectacular KO to close 2020. ”
Bob Arum, president of Top Rank, said: “Eddie Hearn better be careful. Kubrat Pulev is going to destroy his plan for a Joshua-Tyson Fury unification fight. “
Freddie Cunningham, Managing Director of 258, said: “Anthony once again shows his will and desire to pursue the undisputed title with another tough mandatory fight and despite the challenges of doing a fight of this scale during these times, it is important to AJ keep up the momentum. It will be an exciting way to end the year and unique in every way. We will work with Matchroom to build a full card of 258 wrestlers to provide entertainment for fans throughout the card. “
John Wirt, President of Epic Sports and Entertainment, said: “Crowd or no crowds, we’re going to AJ’s backyard to claim the titles. Come December 12, there will be no more excuses or delays. I guarantee it will be an epic battle and that Kubrat will stop AJ within distance. “
“Anthony Joshua returns to the ring, one year after regaining his world titles from Andy Ruiz Jr, and the United World Champion Great Britain will be determined to reign in a highly contested heavyweight division,” said Adam Smith, Head of Sky Sports Boxing Development. .
“Kubrat Pulev has proven to have a pedigree, with just that one loss to Wladimir Klitschko, and he hopes to send more shockwaves through the sport with an unexpected win, but I know AJ has been training tirelessly, preparing his explosive power for another night. of fireworks.
“Tyson Fury, of course, will be watching, as an undisputed world title fight is close at hand, and AJ can’t afford to slip into a box office finale of boxing year.”
“We are delighted to bring the World Heavyweight Championship to all DAZN subscribers,” said DAZN Executive Vice President Joseph Markowski. “AJ-Pulev will have major consequences for the entire boxing landscape as both men aim to end the year emphatically.”