— Matchroom Boxing (@MatchroomBoxing) November 28, 2020
After two attempts at staging the world title fight, it’s third time lucky for fans, as Anthony Joshua and Kubrat Pulev will finally meet in the ring on December 12th. The original bout in 2017 was scheduled for the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, but instead it’s now to be hosted in London – with Wembley Arena the confirmed location. When it comes to the latest Joshua – Pulev odds, the markets are very much in AJ’s favour, and it’s his recently regained unified world titles that are on the line. Let’s take a look at both boxers in more detail, with fight night just around the corner.
Tale of the tape
- Nickname: AJ
- Date of birth: 15th October 1989 (31 years old)
- Home town: Watford, England
- Height: 6 ft 6 in
- Reach: 82 in
- Stance: Orthodox
- Record: (23-1 – 21 KO)
- Recognition: WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, and IBO heavyweight champion
- Nickname: Cobra
- Date of birth: 4th May 1981 (39 years old)
- Home town: Sofia, Bulgaria
- Height: 6 ft 4 in
- Reach: 80 in
- Stance: Orthodox
- Record: (28-1 – 14 KO)
- Recognition: IBF mandatory challenger
Joshua hasn’t fought since last December, in his rematch against Andy Ruiz Jr. He famously lost to the American in June 2019, in one of the biggest shocks in boxing history, which saw him lose all of his world titles. The rematch saw a much leaner Joshua win by unanimous decision, regaining his titles and setting up a bout against the IBF mandatory challenger, Pulev.
The Bulgarian on the other hand, has spent more time out of the ring – with his last professional fight coming in November 2019. The 10-round fight went the distance, and he was awarded a unanimous decision win over Rydell Booker. The mandatory challenger previously challenged for a title, but a fifth-round loss against Wladimir Klitschko saw the Ukrainian named IBF heavyweight champion.
The two were supposed to originally meet in 2017, but Pulev pulled out with a shoulder injury, and with 12 days’ notice, Carlos Takam, the IBF world number 3, was drafted in. A tenth-round stoppage via the referee’s intervention saw Joshua retain his WBA (Super), IBF, and IBO heavyweight titles, and saw him then take on the WBA mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin.
It had been a long time coming, but back in March, the rescheduled bout was confirmed for June – with Matchroom’s Eddie Hearn confirming the fight will be staged at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. With the ongoing covid-19 pandemic causing issues with regards to lockdown and safety measures, the bout was postponed for a second time.
And it’s a return to home soil for AJ, whose previous two fights have seen him travel to New York, USA and Diriyah, Saudi Arabia – with Joshua’s last bout in London coming against Povetkin in September 2018. It will be a UK debut for Kubrat, who has spent the majority of his professional career boxing in Germany.
More importantly is how the pair will cope with a restricted crowd. Joshua is used to sell-out matches with 90,000+ in attendance, and of course, with that not possible in the current climate, how will he cope when he’s able to hear a pin drop? While there will be no physical fireworks, it’s set to be an exciting match-up as we come to the end of the year – and there’s no doubt that victory for AJ would set-up that all-British clash against Tyson Fury.