By News Team
25th March 2020
Anthony Joshua versus Kubrat Pulev is currently scheduled to take place on June 20 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and is sure to be a fantastic spectacle between two great heavyweights at the top of their games.
Joshua is the hot favourite at just 1/10 as he looks to break Pulev’s five-year undefeated streak and keep hold of his WBA, WBO and IBF world heavyweight titles.
So how did we end up at this point? Read on to find out.
Why is AJ not facing Tyson Fury?
Promoter Eddie Hearn made it very clear straight after Tyson Fury defeated Deontay Wilder to win the WBC heavyweight championship that he wanted to make AJ vs Fury happen. For years, Fury and Joshua have been calling each other out, and fans have been arguing over who would win the dream bout.
However, Fury had a clause in his fight contract with Wilder meaning there was a rematch option that could be triggered by the loser which would mean a third fight would happen, completing the trilogy.
Many speculated as to whether Wilder would trigger the rematch as he was beaten so convincingly but he took to Instagram, addressing his fans, saying that he would accept a third fight, meaning of course that Joshua vs Fury would have to be put on hold.
Pulev was originally scheduled to fight Joshua in October 2017, but was forced to withdraw through injury. Carlos Takam took the Bulgarian’s place and was ultimately defeated by Joshua, though he put in a valiant effort considering the little time he had to prepare for the fight.
Pulev was owed another title opportunity against Joshua as he is the IBF’s mandatory challenger. He received this mandatory title shot in 2018 when he beat Hughie Fury in the final eliminator and has since fought twice, beating both Rydell Booker and Bogdan Dinu, taking his winning streak to eight in a row.
There was a fair amount of dispute between the IBF and the WBO in terms of which mandatory challenger Joshua would face – the WBO had Oleksandr Usyk lined up for Joshua, while the IBF had Pulev. Eventually Hearn stated that Usyk would get his shot later in the year and Pulev would be the first.
However, with Fury becoming world champion, a unification bout later in the year could be on the cards. It’s the fight everyone wants to see and is a guaranteed money maker for the industry. It would be hard to see anyone stand in the way of the fight happening if the conditions are right on both sides for both parties.