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Anthony Joshua to fight just once this year ahead of two-bout series with Tyson Fury in 2021

Anthony Cocks

Australian-based boxing journalist Anthony Cocks has been covering the sport for over 15 years for various print and online publications. He refuses to believe that Roberto Duran ever lost to Tommy Hearns and says that Jeff Fenech would destroy Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali on the same night.

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Unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua will fight just once this year before a potential two-bout series with British compatriot Tyson Fury in 2021.

The WBA, IBF and WBO champion is scheduled to make a mandatory title defence against Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev next while WBC titleholder Fury has a rematch due with American Deontay Wilder.

The dates and venues have yet to be set due to the global coronavirus pandemic.

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Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn told Sky Sports a two-fight deal for next year was currently being negotiated.

“We have also now conceded that AJ will only fight once this year,” said Hearn.

“Before it was all about getting that fight (Pulev) in early August to make sure we could fight in December. Because of the preparation needed and the magnitude of his shows, AJ will only box once in 2020.”

Hearn is holding out hope that crowds will be allowed to attend boxing matches later this year.

“We hope between September and December live gates will return to the UK. There is also a chance they won’t — if that’s the case, we will take the (Pulev) fight elsewhere,” he said.

“We have had a number of approaches from the Middle East, China, and Croatia to stage the fight. We want to give ourselves every opportunity to stage it in the UK but we know it may not be possible.”

Joshua won back his belts from Mexican-American Andy Ruiz Jr in Saudi Arabia last December and has not fought since.

The Pulev fight was originally scheduled for June 20 at Tottenham Hotspur’s new 62,000-seater stadium in North London but the coronavirus pandemic changed those plans.

Fury knocked out Wilder in seven one-sided rounds to claim the WBC belt in February following their controversial draw in December 2018.

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