Fan-tastic: Joshua vs Pulev can have a crowd

Anthony Joshua vs Kubrat Pulev can play out before a live crowd after all following the news that London will escape the toughest COVID-19 restrictions from the end of the current UK national lockdown.

It had looked likely Joshua would defend his IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles at an empty SSE Arena at Wembley, due to the restrictions.

But now London has been placed into Tier 2 from the end of the current lockdown on December 2.

That means the venue can host a crowd of 1,000 fans or 50 percent of its capacity – whichever is lower. As a result, 1,000 could be allowed into the arena.

Joshua vs Pulev: Much at stake for AJ

There is a huge amount at stake for Joshua (23-1) when he meets Pulev (28-1). He knows that a win over the 39-year-old Bulgarian should set up a massive unification match with Tyson Fury next summer.

Fury and Joshua have already agreed in principle the financial structure of a two-fight deal. The first would see a 50-50 revenue split with the rematch handing the winner a 60-40 share.

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Joshua will start a hot favourite with the bookmakers, as short as 1/12. Pulev meanwhile is as big as 13/2 to pull off a monster upset.

It will be the Watford man’s first fight in just over a year. He has not been out since outpointing Andy Ruiz Jr in their rematch in Saudi Arabia last December.

That victory saw AJ regain the belts he had lost in that shock first professional defeat by big underdog Ruiz Jr in New York in June 2019.

Pulev no pushover

Pulev has only had one professional defeat so far. That came in his previous world title challenge, against Wladimir Klitschko back in 2014. On that occasion ‘The Cobra’ was destroyed by Wlad inside five one-sided rounds.

Joshua vs Pulev will be televised live on pay-per-view in the UK by Sky Sports Box Office. The price will be £24.95.

Meanwhile DAZN will stream the fight in more than 200 markets – including the United States – as part of its global launch. The UK though will not be one of them, with Joshua being contracted to Sky.