The venue for Anthony Joshua’s showdown with Kubrat Pulev could be a Roman amphitheatre in Croatia, according to the Bulgarian’s manager.
The 39-year-old Pulev was supposed to meet Joshua at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on June 20, but that date was cancelled due to the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic. There is no new date yet for the fight as boxing promoters wait to see when and how the sport can begin to get back on its feet.
But Pulev’s manager Ivaylo Gotzev has thrown an intriguing possibility into the mix for that mandatory challenge for Joshua’s IBF, WBA and WBO titles.
“We are discussing Croatia,” he told the BBC.
“There is a unique Roman stadium – Pula Arena – and we are in active talks.”
Gotzev says the camps are hopeful of working out a way forward for the fight in the next four weeks – potentially with a view to it happening in August or September. Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn has already said that AJ fighting behind closed doors would be “a last resort” – but Gotsev believes Pula could solve that problem.
“We like this option because it is in Europe, in the middle of the continent. There will also be an opportunity for spectators with the right measures taken. There needs to be a mutual agreement. We want the terms and conditions to be beneficial for both parties. They can’t meet in Bulgaria because Joshua will not agree.”
Pulev (28-1) suffered his only professional defeat back in 2015 when he was knocked out while challenging for Wladimir Klitschko’s world heavyweight titles. Before this year’s false start he had been due to fight Joshua in Cardiff back in 2017, but was forced to pull out with a shoulder injury.
There has been talk that Pulev may be persuaded to accept step-aside money to allow Joshua to lock horns with fellow Briton Tyson Fury in a blockbusting unification match later this year. But Pulev’s statements so far don’t appear to show there is any chance of that happening. He says he will dethrone Joshua “brutally” when they finally do meet.