Anthony Joshua's title defence could be delayed by coronavirus pandemic

Anthony Joshua’s world heavyweight title defence against Kubrat Pulev could be delayed until July due to the chaos caused by the coronavirus.

World heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua.

World heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua.   -  Getty Images

Anthony Joshua’s world heavyweight title defence against Kubrat Pulev could be delayed until July due to the chaos caused by the coronavirus, promoter Eddie Hearn said on Tuesday.

Joshua is due to fight Pulev at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on June 20.

But the British star could be forced to give up that date if Tottenham needs the ground for a potential extension of the Premier League campaign.

All top flight football matches have been suspended until early April at the earliest due to the pandemic, causing speculation that the season will be finished in the summer.

READ | Coronavirus hits global sports: March 17

Euro 2020 has been pushed back a year to 2021, which has opened up room in the schedule to play domestic matches in June and July if possible.

Hearn, whose Matchroom organisation earlier confirmed the postponement of all boxing events in March and April, has dismissed the prospect of any of his major bouts being staged behind closed doors.

Referring to Joshua’s June 20 date, Hearn told Sky Sports News: “At the moment it’s still in place.

ALSO READ |  Coronavirus: What next for European football?

“Obviously with the news of the Euros being cancelled and the possible extension of the Premier League season, Spurs may need that stadium in June.

“We do have an option to run that fight in July as well at the same stadium. Everything now is really a case-by-case situation and a day-by-day situation of trying to think on your feet.

“June 20 is a long time away. It’s still in our plans and we have been speaking to Tottenham to make sure we’re all on the same page and that we know we have the same strategy moving forward.

Support Sportstar


Dear Reader,

Support our journalism — where text and pictures intermingle so seamlessly — and help us scale up your experience as the world changes around us. Your contribution is vital to our brand of uninfluenced, boots-on-the-ground reportage that’s worth your while. Clickbait sensationalism is not for us, but editorial independence is — we owe it to you.