Joshua’s Pulev fight not yet off but Hearn speculates on Fury bout


(Reuters) – Promoter Eddie Hearn says Anthony Joshua’s world heavyweight title defence againt IBF mandatory challenger Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev in June has not been postponed yet due to coronavirus, despite the opponent suggesting it would be moved.

Hearn, who manages Joshua, also floated the idea that a blockbuster bout for the undisputed world heavyweight title with Tyson Fury might take priority in the event of a long postponement.

“Right now, for us, we’re fighting Kubrat Pulev, June 20, and it could be July 25, but everything is uncertain at the moment, whilst the country and the world tries to contain this pandemic,” Matchroom Boxing boss Hearn told Sky Sports.

The 38-year-old former European amateur super-heavyweight champion Pulev had said the fight would probably take place at the end of the year instead of June 20 at Tottenham Hotspur’s stadium in London as scheduled.

The 30-year-old Joshua reclaimed the WBA, WBO and IBF belts back with a unanimous points win over Andy Ruiz Jr in December.

Fury annexed the WBC belt with a brilliant seventh round stoppage of American Deontay Wilder in Las Vegas and Wilder has invoked his contractual right to a re-match.

But Hearn suggested the delays caused by the coronavirus may lead to a re-think.

“Well I think, all of a sudden, does the Joshua-Fury fight start taking priority, maybe over a Pulev fight, if the Pulev fight extends beyond the summer. There’s so much that could happen right now,” said Hearn.

“I mean anything is possible, but contractually Deontay Wilder is going to want his fight next, whether that’s in July or whether there’s a force majeure that takes that to October, November wherever,” he said.

Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Angus MacSwan