Pulev sees no problem in fighting Joshua without spectators


SOFIA (Reuters) – Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev, the IBF’s mandatory challenger, said he saw no problem in fighting Briton Anthony Joshua for the world heavyweight title in a match without spectators.

The 38-year-old former European amateur super-heavyweight champion Pulev, known as “The Cobra”, said he was ready to face Joshua whenever the organizers decide.

Last week, he told Bulgarian media the fight, scheduled to take place on June 20 at Tottenham Hotspur’s stadium in London, would be postponed by several months due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Promoter Eddie Hearn, however, reacted quickly, saying the fight had still not been officially called off.

“I’m ready for June 20, July 25, whenever they say,” Pulev, one of Bulgaria’s most popular sportsmen, told bTV channel. “You see what the situation is, the whole world must adjust to it.

“There’s no problem (if the fight is) to be without spectators. Everyone would be at home, they can pay per view, so I don’t see any problem financially.

“The show could be lost a bit without fans but it can still happen. After all, it’s a world championship, which must take place.”

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

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 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.

Reporting by Angel Krasimirov; Editing by Hugh Lawson