IBF Put Pressure on Joshua to Defend Title

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ANTHONY JOSHUA

Anthony Joshua will not have a “firm date” imposed by the IBF for his mandatory defence against Kubrat Pulev as talks continue over a venue for the fight.

Before Joshua can meet Tyson Fury in an undisputed heavyweight championship fight in 2021, with financial terms already agreed, he must make a mandatory defence against Pulev which has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

WBO mandatory Oleksandr Usyk is also breathing down Joshua’s neck while WBC mandatory Dillian Whyte is due to challenge for Fury’s belt by February 2021.

A statement from the IBF to Sky Sports reads: “Given the current circumstances we are being flexible.

“It is difficult to put a firm date on mandatory obligations at the moment. Everyone is working hard to get things going with boxing again and hopefully everything will be on track soon.”

Joshua-Pulev was originally scheduled for June at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, a first fight on British soil in two years for the IBF, WBA and WBO champion.

Staging the fight behind-closed-doors has been ruled out and a “smaller venue” in the UK, with a potential date in November, is now bei ng considered by promoter Eddie Hearn.