Anthony Joshua to face title defence against Kubrat Pulev on December 12 at O2 Arena

Anthony Joshua has announced he will fight Kubrat Pulev on December 12 at the O2 Arena. Joshua will be defending his WBA, IBF and WBO belts against Bulgarian fighter Pulev. The mandatory challenger initially had his bout with the Brit set for June but that was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Joshua won his belts back from Andy Ruiz Jr last year and is determined to still have them following the match up with Pulev.

“December 12 is the date and once again the heavyweight belts go up in the air and it is my sole focus to make sure that come December 13 they are in their rightful place in the UK,” Joshua said.

“The O2 is the original lion’s den, I have a lot of history with the arena, but without the fans something huge is missing.

“I am really hoping that, safety permitting, we might be able to bring some boxing fans in, but we will have to see. I respect every opponent and I respect Pulev.

“I wish him well during his preparation.”

It will be Joshua’s first fight on home soil in over two years.

Pulev was first set to fight Joshua in 2017 but pulled out due to injury.

Now the 29-year-old is confident he can leave London with all three belts in December.

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“For a small country of Bulgaria to stand up for the heavyweight titles is a great accomplishment,” Pulev said.

“This fight is for my late father and all Bulgarians around the world! I’m coming to London to seize the heavyweight championship of the world.”

Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn is excited that the boxing year will finish with such a huge fight.

“After a challenging year for everyone, to end with the unified world heavyweight championship is very special,” Hearn said.

“Over a year after regaining his crown, Anthony Joshua takes on yet another dangerous opponent in mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev.

“AJ’s resume is unrivalled, and this is the final hurdle until we challenge for the undisputed crown next year.

“Whilst it’s unusual to think of an AJ fight without tens of thousands of fans in attendance, we will be doing everything we can to lobby for the safe return of fans to this event. We have to move forward together.

“I know Team Pulev and Bob Arum will be doing all they can to become world champion on December 12, but AJ constantly evolves and improves and I expect a dominant performance and a spectacular KO to close out 2020.”

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