Kubrat Pulev says Joshua fight is signed, confirms date

Kubrat Pulev has confirmed his world-title challenge against Anthony Joshua is signed and will take place in London on Saturday December 12.

The 39-year-old Pulev is the mandatory contender for Joshua’s IBF belt, and will finally get his shot after a frustrating year. So far COVID-19 had stopped the bout taking place, but now it is finally on.

Pulev announced the news on his official website, and then later added on Facebook: “There is no way back, no postponement, no rescheduling! Let the better one win!”

The Pulev camp had been critical of Joshua (23-1) and promoter Eddie Hearn in recent weeks, believing they were avoiding the fight. It had initially been scheduled for Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in June, before COVID-19 intervened.

But Hearn has consistently said his man will fight in 2020, with or without a crowd. He has not been seen out since that rematch defeat of Andy Ruiz in December 2019.

Pulev (28-1) has already fought for a world title once, being knocked out in five rounds by Wladimir Klitschko back in 2014.

Joshua’s stepping stone

For Joshua, the bout (exact venue still to be confirmed) is likely the final step to an enormous showdown with fellow British world champion Tyson Fury next summer.

Fury this week “moved on” from a trilogy fight with Deontay Wilder with COVID-19 again scuppering plans. He will instead look to fight in the UK, likely on Saturday December 5.

Joshua vs Pulev appears likely to take place behind closed doors at this exact moment. But Hearn remains hopeful by the time December rolls around a crowd will be allowed.

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

The venue for Fury vs Joshua will be a hot potato in coming months. British fight fans are obviously desperate to see it happen in the UK, likely at Wembley Stadium in front of 90,000.

But promoters have stressed that the economics involved may mean a bigger deal will come from overseas.