Joshua’s Absolute Focus on Fighting Pulev in UK

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Joshua (left) and Pulev were earlier scheduled to fight next month

Anthony Joshua’s “absolute focus” is still on a homecoming world title fight against Kubrat Pulev, unless the UK option is “taken out of our hands”, says promoter Eddie Hearn.

The Matchroom Boxing boss has confirmed Joshua will make one defence of his WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight titles this year against IBF mandatory challenger Pulev, which is unlikely to be staged before the end of September.

Hearn told Sky Sports: “Wouldn’t it be great to come through all this and stage a world heavyweight title fight in the UK this year. For us, that is the absolute focus and if that’s taken out of our hands, we will look at other options around the world.

“Croatia is a potential option at this stage and just a part of wider discussions. Given the current uncertainty, I would expect to see him in the ring again end of September at the earliest, but more likely October or November as the restrictions hopefully start to ease.”

Pulev’s manager Ivalyo Gotsev is keen to stage the fight at the end of August and revealed that he has secured financial backing and a date at Pula Arena, a Roman Amphitheatre in Croatia.