Unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua will have to wait a bit longer for his return to the ring.
Matchroom Boxing, which promotes Joshua, confirmed on Friday that due to the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic, Joshua’s June 20th showdown with challenger Kubrat Pulev has been postponed indefinitely. According to the promotion, “a new date for the event is currently being worked on.”
The bout was originally set for Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, but as the United Kingdom’s coronavirus cases continue to skyrocket, all sports are currently on pause in the country.
Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) shocking lost his IBF, WBO, and WBA titles to short notice replacement Andy Ruiz Jr last June in one of the most incredible upsets in recent boxing history. The Brit bounced back from his TKO defeat in New York by comfortably outpointing Ruiz by unanimous decision in their December rematch.
Pulev (28-1, 14 KOs) hasn’t fought for a major title since he challenged Wladimir Klitschko in 2014, suffering a fifth-round KO loss in Germany. Since then, the Bulgarian has won eight straight, including against Dereck Chisora and Hughie Fury (Tyson’s less talented cousin). Pulev was supposed to fight Joshua in 2017 before withdrawing due to injury, so consider this fight three years overdue.
The trilogy between WBC champion Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder was moved from July 18th to early October. Bob Arum says the pandemic was the reason for the postponement, although that’s been disputed in an article by The Athletic’s Mike Coppinger. Either way, the odds of it happening in July were slim to begin with.