Anthony Joshua’s showdown with Kubrat Pulev will likely be delayed until the autumn, Top Rank Boxing chief Bob Arum believes. Joshua is expected to defend his unified heavyweight titles against the Bulgarian in the summer.
The Olympian’s first title defence since reclaiming the unified throne last December is set to take place at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on July 25.
Joshua’s meeting with Pulev, who he was originally meant to face in October 2017 was initially meant to take place on June 20.
The coronavirus outbreak, however, has led to the Watford native’s homecoming being pushed back a month.
Despite there being no end in sight for the lockdown in the UK, Joshua’s team are optimistic about the fight going ahead as planned.
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I think scheduling for July is a bit optimistic, I don’t think we’re going to be able to get clearance to have spectators at the event in July
Bob Arum on Anthony Joshua’s showdown with Kubrat Pulev
The same can’t be said for Arum, though, who reckons Matchroom Boxing are being a bit unrealistic with their expectation of normalcy returning in July.
He told iFL TV: “I think scheduling for July is a bit optimistic, I don’t think we’re going to be able to get clearance to have spectators at the event in July.”
Tyson Fury’s heavyweight trilogy fight with Deontay Wilder has also fallen victim to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the WBC title bout being pushed back until October.
And Arum, who promotes Fury and Pulev, foresees Joshua’s latest outing taking place at a similar time.
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“I think that that fight would go over into the fall as well as the Fury – Wilder fight which we’re now looking at October.
“I think that fights play out the way many people think and Joshua and Fury are the winners, they’ll fight some time next year.”
Prior to the coronavirus outbreak decimating the sporting calendar, an end-of-year unification fight between Joshua and Fury was within touching distance.
Realistically, the earliest the fight will be able to take place will be next January or February.
And for Arum, that timeframe works perfectly.
He said: “No great catastrophe if they don’t fight in December and fight in January or February 2021.’
Joshua, 30, was last in action last December in Saudi Arabia, where he defeated Andy Ruiz Jr via unanimous decision to reclaim the unified heavyweight titles.
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