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Anthony Joshua vs Kubrat Pulev being targeted for first weekend of December

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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Eddie Hearn is still holding out hope that the fight between unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua 23-1 (21) and Kubrat Pulev 28-1 (14) will take place in front of a live crowd.

The WBA, IBF and WBO champion is due to make a mandatory defence against Bulgarian veteran but the fight has repeatedly been pushed back doe to the global coronavirus pandemic.

Matchroom Boxing boss Hearn is targeting a December date with the O2 Arena in London the preferred venue.

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“We know AJ’s only going to fight once this year, so we want to give ourselves the best opportunity to bring in a crowd, and that would obviously be the later the better,” Hearn told ESPN.

“But it’s still not a gimme at all. There’s still a very strong chance that AJ will have to fight behind closed doors.

“Bearing in mind he’s only going to fight once this year, I just feel as we might as well give ourselves every chance to have a crowd and that will be the first weekend of December.

“Their regulations comply with the government, so at the moment they’re closed. So they would need to open up.

“We’d need to get an understanding from the government what is allowed in arenas. Are you going to open at 50 percent [capacity]? Are you going to open up 100 percent?

“There’s a lot of work that has to go into that with the government and the O2.”

Joshua reversed his loss to Andy Ruiz Jr in Saudi Arabia last December and is expected to face WBC champion Tyson Fury 30-0-1 (21) next year.

But Pulev comes first.

“He must box this year, and obviously it’s up to me to find a solution and a crowd,” Hearn said.

“But he also knows at the same time, he must fight because it will be a year in December since the Ruiz fight.

“He’s still improving, he’s still learning, and he’s not prepared to just sit out and not fight.”

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