LONDON: The world heavyweight title fight between Briton Anthony Joshua and the IBF’s mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev of Bulgaria originally scheduled for June 20 has been postponed, promoters Matchroom Boxing said on Friday.
Joshua’s defense of his IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO titles was set to take place at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium but the coronavirus outbreak has brought global sport to a standstill, with no competition taking place in the United Kingdom.
“A new date for the event ... is currently being worked on,” Matchroom Boxing said in a statement. “We will announce any updates in due course and continue to explore the possibility of hosting this fight at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.”
Pulev said last month the fight would take place “toward the end of the year” due to the outbreak and that he would have no problem fighting without spectators in attendance.
It marks the second time their bout has not gone ahead as planned. Joshua was initially due to fight Pulev at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium in October 2017 but the Bulgarian withdrew after suffering a shoulder injury in sparring.
Pulev had previously challenged for the IBF world heavyweight title in 2014 but lost to Wladimir Klitschko in Hamburg when he was knocked out in the fifth round.
The 30-year-old Joshua reclaimed the WBA, WBO and IBF belts with a unanimous points win over Andy Ruiz Jr. in December.
Separately, former world champion Amir Khan said Friday that he is eager to end his boxing career with a lucrative bout against ring great Manny Pacquiao or in an all-British contest with Kell Brook.
The 33-year-old Khan, who won his last bout with a fourth-round victory over Billy Dib in Saudi Arabia in July, had reportedly been considering retirement, but he is determined to go out with a flourish against high-class opposition.
“I have a couple of fights left in me — one or two at least,” said Khan, speaking to promoter Eddie Hearn via Instagram on Friday.