Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn is working on a plan to put the signed fight between Anthony Joshua and Kubret Pulev in the United Kingdom, as originally intended, and he doesn’t think it will be an empty building fight.
Hearn tells Sky Sports that while it certainly won’t be held at a football stadium as originally planned, a small venue with limited audience might be in the cards:
“We’ve had interest from the Middle East, the Far East, yet to receive anything official from Croatia but they have shown interest too. But we’d like to do it [in the UK]. We are starting to look at venues that are smaller. ... I don’t think it will be behind closed doors. If we can get some kind of number together [for a potential crowd] we can create an exclusive event to keep this fight in the UK.”
Hearn’s expectation is that we’ll see Joshua-Pulev in the latter part of the year, possibly October or November. This is a pretty bold gamble, really; there’s far from any guarantee that the COVID-19 situation in the United Kingdom or anywhere else will allow for venues with fans to be open. There’s no guarantee, even, that this won’t get worse again by then, pushing the fight into 2021, potentially. If they ran it in the summer without fans, the fight would at least be done.
That said, almost everything is a guessing game right now. Top Rank are just about to get back to business in the United States in June with empty venue fights in Las Vegas, while Golden Boy are looking at July in the US, and Matchroom have been talking July or August in the United Kingdom. Everything is being played by ear.