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.
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.
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.