The world heavyweight championship fight between IBF, WBA, and WBO titleholder Anthony Joshua and challenger Kubrat Pulev will not take place on June 20 as planned. The bout is the latest major boxing event to be postponed during the global coronavirus pandemic and further muddies an already complicated heavyweight division.
The bout was planned to take place at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. With the British Boxing Board of Control recently announcing the cancellation or postponement of any fight scheduled through May, it seemed only a matter of time before large events in June began to fall as well. With fighters unable to train or travel as normal, preparation for a world championship bout is difficult at best and impossible at worst.
Pulev missed out on a chance to fight Joshua in 2017, when he was forced out of the bout because of injury. He worked his way back to a position as a mandatory challenger and stood as a potential hurdle to a megafight to the winner of the third fight between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder.
Joshua's promoter, Matchroom Boxing's Eddie Hearn, has previously floated a July 25 date if Joshua vs. Pulev was postponed, with the goal of still holding the fight at the same venue. That date has not yet been confirmed as the promotion continues to follow developments regarding coronavirus and future government response.
Joshua is coming off a victory over Andy Ruiz Jr. in a rematch after Ruiz scored a shocking knockout win in their first meeting.