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Joshua, Pulev To Hold In 2020 Behind Closed Door

Joshua, Pulev To Hold In 2020 Behind Closed Door

Matchroom remain confident Anthony Joshua vs Kubrat Pulev will take place this year, with plans being arranged for both a behind closed doors fight and one with a live audience in attendance.

Joshua was scheduled to defend his IBF, WBO, and WBA (Super) heavyweight titles against Pulev at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in July, but the coronavirus pandemic halted those plans.

Eddie Hearn revealed last month that the fight remains on course to take place in 2020 and was hopeful it could be staged in front of a reduced crowd at the O2 Arena.

Pilot programmes allowing spectators to attend sporting events in the UK tentatively returned over the weekend after briefly being postponed amid fears over the coronavirus infection rate, beginning with the World Snooker Championship Final at The Crucible.

More pilot events are to follow with the view of reopening venues from October 1 once again, but given the uncertainty, talks for Joshua vs Pulev will continue with scenarios for both eventualities being considered and Matchroom CEO Frank Smith still hopeful it will be held in the UK.

“We are in talks with team Pulev, [manager] Ivaylo Gotzev, [promoter] Bob Arum, all of his guys to try make that happen for late November or early December,” Smith told Standard Sport.

“And hopefully in the UK. It’s very difficult to understand at the moment if there [will] be a crowd, won’t there be a crowd, that is just something that over time we are going to have to wait and see with really.

“But our aim is get the fight on. AJ wants the fight, as does Pulev. And if that means behind closed doors, that’s what it means. But hopefully we are going in the right direction and are going to start seeing crowds come back.

“At some point [a decision will have to be made] but daily, these things are changing. I think the aim for us is get the fight done. If there is a crowd [allowed], we do it with a crowd. If there isn’t, we do it without a crowd.

“That’s what we are working on now, the structure of a deal based on no crowd and one with a crowd. And then it’s on us to work as best we can alongside the government to try and get a crowd in there.”

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