Anthony Joshua will defend his IBF, WBA and WBO world heavyweight titles against Kubrat Pulev in what is the biggest fight to take place on these shores during the remainder of 2020.
Joshua (23-1) is hoping to move a step closer to that dream unification showdown with fellow British heavyweight king Tyson Fury next summer, while for the veteran Pulev (28-1) this could be the last chance of victory at the very highest level.
While Joshua will start as a hot favourite to retain his titles and close in on that huge Fury showdown, heavyweight boxing is a dangerous game. And ‘The Gypsy King’ may well be sat behind his sofa in Morecambe. Lancashire with his eyes closed hoping nothing goes wrong for his big rival.
If Joshua does prevail, it will be full steam ahead for next summer and the biggest fight in British boxing history.
Joshua vs Pulev date, time and venue
Joshua vs Pulev will take place at London’s O2 Arena on Saturday December 12, 2020. The bout will be held behind closed doors with no spectators in attendance due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The fight had initially been due to take place at at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on June 20, but that date was scuppered by the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
With the bout taking place in the UK, ring walk times for Joshua vs Pulev are likely to be between 2200 GMT (1700 ET) and 2300 GMT (1800 ET).
Joshua vs Pulev TV channel, live stream and PPV price
Joshua is a huge box-office draw and his last bout – that revenge victory over Andy Ruiz Jr in their rematch in Saudi Arabia last December – drew a domestic record 1.6million pay-per-view buys on Sky Sports Box Office. Each paid £24.95 for the privilege.
The Pulev fight will again be a Sky Sports PPV at a price of £24.95 with Joshua continuing his highly successful association with the UK’s biggest pay-TV broadcaster.
Joshua vs Pulev will be showed by streaming platform DAZN ($19.99 per month or $99 for an annual subscription) in the United States, along with its other eight markets (Canada, Germany, Japan, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Switzerland and Austria).
DAZN has also announced that Joshua vs Pulev will air in more than 200 markets as part of its December global launch. But not in the UK of course due to AJ’s contract with Sky Sports.
Joshua vs Pulev odds
Not surprisingly Joshua is a heavy favourite to improve his record to 24-1 and retain his world heavyweight titles. He is a best-priced 1/8 to come out victorious and as short as 1/10 in places. Pulev meanwhile is generally a 5/1 or 11/2 shot with the Draw a 33/1 or 40/1 chance.
For those punters looking for a little better in terms of return for their money, Joshua is 3/1 to win by decision or technical decision.
Joshua vs Pulev weights
The weigh-in for Joshua vs Pulev will be held 24 hours before the fight takes place – on Friday December 11.
Joshua weighed in at 237lbs (16st 13lbs) for his last bout, that points defeat of Ruiz Jr in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in December 2019, That was some 10 pounds lighter than he had been for the first meeting.
Pulev weighed in at 248lbs (17st 10lbs) for his last ring outing, a unanimous decision over Rydell Booker in Fresno, California last November.
Anthony Joshua record and profile
Anthony Oluwafemi Olaseni Joshua, or ‘AJ’, was born on October 15, 1989 and is now 31 years old.
Joshua, born in Watford, stands 6ft 6ins tall with a reach of 82ins. His current CV as a professional stands at 23-1 with 21 wins inside distance.
The only blot is that upset loss to Andy Ruiz Jr at Madison Square Garden in June 2019. It was quickly avenged with a points victory in Saudi Arabia in December 2019.
Before that, Joshua had looked invincible. He transitioned effortlessly from 2012 Olympic gold to world-title glory.
His first major test as a pro came against fellow Briton Dillian Whyte in December 2015. AJ prevailed via a seventh-round TKO.
Joshua would claim his first world title in his very next fight, demolishing Charles Martin inside two rounds in April 2016.
The next big moment came at Wembley Stadium in April 2017 when AJ fought an unforgettable duel with Wladimir Klitschko.
Joshua was down and almost out before winning via a sensational stoppage in Round 11. The win saw Joshua add the WBA world heavyweight title to his IBF belt.
Victories over Carlos Takam, WBO champion Joseph Parker and Alexander Povetkin followed before that disastrous night against Ruiz Jr. The 30/1 underdog shocked the world with a seventh-round stoppage.
Joshua immediately forced that Saudi Arabia rematch. He regained his titles by boxing smartly against an opponent who appeared to have already lost to the refrigerator.
Kubrat Pulev record and profile
Kubrat Pulev was born on May 4, 1981 in Sofia, Bulgaria and is now 39 years old. He has a professional record of 28-1. Fourteen of those wins came inside distance.
Pulev, known as ‘The Cobra’, turned professional in 2009. He stands 6ft 4½ins tall with a reach of 79½ins. Pulev won his first 20 fights to earn a shot at Wladimir Klitschko’s world heavyweight titles.
Klitschko vs Pulev took place in Altona, Germany in November 2014. For the Bulgarian it was a rude awakening.
‘Dr Steelhammer’ wasn’t always the most exciting world champion to watch. But in his 17th title defence he was clearly confident of an early night.
Pulev was down twice in the opening round, and only real heart took it any further. The end was highlight-reel stuff as Klitschko closed the show with a crushing left hook in round 5.
It has taken six long years for Pulev to get back to world-title level. He has rebuilt his career with some decent victories over the likes of British pair Dereck Chisora and Hughie Fury. But there is a big difference between that and truly elite level.
Pulev’s co-promoter Arum is convinced his man can shock the world. But he’s a promoter, he would say that, wouldn’t he?
Joshua vs Pulev undercard
Lawrence Okolie (14-0, 11 KOs) takes on Krzysztof Glowacki (31-2, 19 KOs) for the vacant WBO Cruiserweight World Title on the Joshua vs Pulev undercard on December 12.
Meanwhile two exciting Heavyweight matchups have been added to the supporting line-up.
Hughie Fury (24-3, 14 KOs) takes on Poland’s Mariusz Wach (36-6, 19 KOs), a former opponent of Wladimir Klitschko, Alexander Povetkin and Dillian Whyte.
“I’m very excited to be back in action again on December 12,” said Fury. “It’s been a while and I’m ready to show what I’m all about. I’ve been in the gym working on a lot of different aspects of my game, perfecting what I needed to do.”
Meanwhile Martin Bakole and Sergey Kuzmin clash for the vacant WBC International Heavyweight Title after their proposed fight earlier in the year was rescheduled. Both men share respective 15-1 records and will be looking to gatecrash the world rankings.
“I’m really looking forward to fighting for the WBC International Title on such a big night of boxing, said Bakole. “A victory over Kuzmin is another step to making my dreams come true.”
“This fight with Bakole is very important for me, I need to bounce back from my defeat to Michael Hunter last time and get back on track towards a World Title,” revealed Kuzmin. “Martin is big, tall and comes forward, we know his strengths. I come only to win on December 12.”