‘AJ’ vs ‘Cobra’
BBN have provided viewers with all the details needed to tune in and watch the eagerly awaited unified world heavyweight title fight between defending champion Anthony Joshua (23-1, 21KOs) and challenger Kubrat Pulev (28-1, 14KOs).
The bout takes place on Saturday, December 12, the same day in history that James ‘Bonecrusher’ Smith knocked out Tim Witherspoon in the first round at Madison Square Garden to become WBA World heavyweight champion.
It takes place behind closed doors at the O2 Arena in London, although promoter Eddie Hearn is hopeful that some kind of crowd will be allowed to attend, with some venues permitted a proposed 25% capacity.
12 three-minute championship rounds at heavyweight.
AJ’s WBA Super, IBF, WBO and IBO World heavyweight titles are all on the line.
The ring walks are expected from 10pm UK time, but that will depend on the undercard results.
Coverage for Joshua-Pulev starts live on Sky Sports Box Office from around 7:30pm, and will be broadcast on DAZN in the US.
You can watch online via the Sky Sports website here: https://www.skysports.com/watch
There is one other way that you can watch if you are not a Sky TV customer, or if you are just out and about on Saturday night by simply finding a suitable pub that is showing the event by visiting pubfinder.sky.com
The pay-per-view event on Sky Sports Box Office (Sky channel 491) and Sky Sports Box Office HD (Sky channel 492) is priced at £24.95 for UK customers, €27.95 for Republic of Ireland customers.
Lawrence Okolie (14-0, 11KOs) challenges for the vacant WBO World cruiserweight title against former holder Krzysztof Glowacki (31-0,19KOs).
The 34-year-old from Poland defeated the joint-longest reigning cruiserweight world champion Marco Huck (42-5-1, 28KOs) in 2015 to win the WBO World title, which he defended once then lost to pound-for-pound superstar Oleksandr Usyk (17-0, 13KOs). He reeled off five consecutive victories, claiming the WBO interim title before receiving back his old crown after Usyk relinquished it to move up to heavyweight. He conceded it in his first defence to Latvian Mairis Briedis (26-1, 19KOs) in the WBSS semi-final.
The 27-year-old from Hackney is unbeaten in 14 fights and has collected British, Commonwealth and European cruiserweight titles already. He also holds the WBA Continental belt and is ranked WBO #2 and IBF #5. His incredibly awkward style of fighting is not very pleasing to the eye, but it's 100% effective.
Everything you ever need to know about Joshua-Pulev can be found HERE
Anthony Joshua: “I am defending my Heavyweight World Titles. I’m back in my home city after some time away. The belts go back up in the air and nothing will stop me from being victorious. December 12 is the date and once again it is my sole focus to make sure that come December 13 they are in their rightful place in the UK. The O2 is the original lion’s den, I have a lot of history with the arena, but without the fans something huge is missing. I am really hoping that, safety permitting, we might be able to bring some boxing fans in, but we will have to see. I respect every opponent and I respect Pulev. I wish him well during his preparation.”
Kubrat Pulev: “I am happy to have the opportunity to show the world how strong I really am. Becoming a Heavyweight World Champion has always been my mission in life and on June 20 2020 I will fulfil my destiny! For a small country of Bulgaria to stand up for the Heavyweight Titles is a great accomplishment. This fight is for my late father and all Bulgarians around the world! I’m coming to London to seize the Heavyweight Championship of the World.”
Eddie Hearn: “After a challenging year for everyone, to end with the unified World Heavyweight Championship is very special. Over a year after regaining his crown, Anthony Joshua takes on yet another dangerous opponent in Mandatory Challenger Kubrat Pulev. AJ’s resume is unrivalled, and this is the final hurdle until we challenge for the undisputed crown next year.
“Whilst it’s unusual to think of an AJ fight without tens of thousands of fans in attendance, we will be doing everything we can to lobby for the safe return of fans to this event, we have to move forward together. I know Team Pulev and Bob Arum will be doing all they can to become World Champion on December 12 but AJ constantly evolves and improves and I expect a dominant performance and a spectacular KO to close out 2020.”
Bob Arum, Top Rank Chairman, said: “Eddie Hearn better watch out. Kubrat Pulev is going to destroy his plan for a Joshua-Tyson Fury unification fight.”
John Wirt of Epic Sports: “We are happy that the fight appears to be back on track and that we have a new date and site. There is still some tweaking to do on the contract but we are optimistic it should be concluded this week.”
BBN Editor, Tim Rickson: “Anthony Joshua received a bit of a wakeup call against Andy Ruiz Jr in their first fight but made the necessary corrections to come back like a true champion, albeit against an inferior, unfit version of the Mexican-American. Taking nothing away from AJ with that statement, because one turned up to the fight as a true champion and the other didn't. I think there’s so much at stake for AJ, referring to the future legacy-making fights with Tyson Fury, that he will put on a clinical performance against Pulev and I expect a stoppage win in the first half of the fight.”
Joshua vs Pulev was due to take place at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium on June 20 but was officially postponed in early April whilst in lockdown.
Promoter Eddie Hearn asserts that Anthony Joshua's "absolute focus" is still set on a homecoming world title fight against Kubrat Pulev, unless the UK option is "taken out of our hands". It was towards the end of May when the Matchroom Boxing boss said he hoped to make the fight in October or November, as restrictions ease, and it's only been this month that the date of December 12 has been pencilled in for the unified world heavyweight title clash, finally!
Pulev is an EU Championships and European Championships amateur champion, as well as a World Championships bronze medallist. The 39-year-old Bulgarian is a two-time European titleholder and world title contender. His sole professional career defeat was to Wladimir Klitschko in 2014 where he was decked three times on his way to a fifth-round stoppage loss, with over 13 million viewers tuning in to watch the event.
This is the second time he has been made IBF mandatory and first time fighting in the UK.
Anthony Joshua, OBE, is a two-time world heavyweight champion, who shot to fame when he won gold at the London 2012 Olympics. The one man that beat Pulev, Joshua defeated himself in an epic battke at Wembley Stadium. Although AJ won by knockout in the 11th round, it was a back and forth battle that saw both fighters touch down. The Ukrainian that Joshua fought in that fight wasn't the same dominant force that blitzed his way through Pulev though, so it's not an accurate measuring stick to go by for this forthcoming fight.
The 30-year-old Londoner is the clear favourite and after a few important lessons lately, he should come through this encounter with all his belts still wrapped around his waist, to set up the fight of the century against Tyson Fury!
Betting Odds Supplied by Star Sports
Anthony Joshua vs Kubrat Pulev
12x3 WBA Super, IBF, WBO, IBO World heavyweight titles
Lawrence Okolie vs Krzysztof Glowacki
12x3 WBO World cruiserweight title
Further undercard fights to be announced...