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Anthony Joshua-Kubrat Pulev targeted for June 20th, terms “effectively agreed upon”

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Anthony Joshua and belts

IBF mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev’s long-awaited crack at Anthony Joshua looks like it’ll take place this summer on the champion’s home turf. The Athletic’s Lance Pugmire reports that June 20th is the matchup’s “target date,” and that terms are “effectively agreed upon.” London’s Tottenham Hotspur and Emirates Stadiums are currently in a bidding war to host the fight.

Anthony Joshua & Tyson Fury

Pulev (28-1, 14 KO), who turns 39 this upcoming May, has won eight straight since a disastrous battle with Wladimir Klitschko in 2014. He was supposed to face Joshua in 2017, but injury led to an 18-month layoff, which culminated in his decision win over Hughie Fury in a final eliminator. He’s since knocked out Bogdan Dinu and taken a decision over Rydell Booker, staying busy while Joshua (23-1, 21 KO) sorted things out with Andy Ruiz Jr.

Anthony Joshua and Kubrat Pulev

This is obviously no non-Bulgarian’s first choice for a Joshua fight, as Pulev rarely entertains even in ostensible mismatches, but the IBF doesn’t take kindly to champions foregoing mandatories. At least it gives Oleksandr Usyk time to fight Dereck Chisora and prove he can handle a quality Heavyweight before asserting his WBO mandatory status.

Eddie Hearn: Unfortunately, I Think Wilder is Going To Beat Fury

Eddie Hearn, the promoter for IBF, IBO, WBA, WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, would like to see Tyson Fury win his upcoming rematch with Deontay Wilder – but he believes the champion will likely come out on top. (photo by Ryan Hafey)

Fury will challenge Wilder for the WBC world title on February 22 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Hearn would like to match Joshua against the winner in the near future.

Tyson Fury & Deontay Wilder

Hearn believes Fury would be the easier road to a unification fight against Joshua.

He does not believe Wilder is up for a Joshua fight – based on statements that were made in a recent interview.

“He said [Joshua] hardly won his titles back [from Andy Ruiz]?,” Hearn said to IFL TV.
Anthony Joshua & Andy Ruiz

“This is a guy who, for years and years, has failed to fight Anthony Joshua. Now he’s doing it again. This is why Tyson’s got to get the win. We can make that [fight] happen. Tyson Fury would fight Anthony Joshua, no problem.

“It’s a quick conversation between me, Bob Arum and MTK, and it gets done instantly. Wilder is just on another planet. Unfortunately, I think Wilder is going to win the fight.

Anthony Joshua

“Of course I want Fury to win, because he’s a Brit. Plus, it gives us that much easier chance of making the big fight, because he would fight him. If Wilder wins this fight, he’ll be under so much pressure to fight Joshua, but everyone can see what we’re up against from those comments. To say Joshua isn’t in the picture is just crazy, it’s weird.”

Joshua has a mandatory defense coming up against the IBF’s top rated contender, Kubrat Pulev. Beyond that, he might have to face the WBO’s top man, Oleksandr Usyk.