Joshua’s heavyweight titles defence against Pulev confirmed for Oct 28 in Cardiff
>> LONDON: Britain’s Anthony Joshua will defend his IBF and WBA world heavyweight titles against Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium on Oct 28.
Joshua, 27, had been pursuing a Las Vegas rematch with Wladimir Klitschko, who he beat at Wembley in April, only for the Ukrainian to announce his retirement.
Instead, Joshua (19-0) will face IBF mandatory challenger Pulev beneath a closed roof in Cardiff, paving the way for him to make his United States debut next year.
“October 28 can’t come soon enough,” Joshua said in a press release issued by Matchroom Boxing.
“I have been eager to get back in the ring since Wembley and now we are confirmed and ready.
“I’ll be locked away focusing on fight number 20 for the next eight weeks. I am excited to experience the atmosphere in a sold-out Principality Stadium and aim to give the fans a spectacular night.”
Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, said a crowd of 80,000 was expected for the fight.
Pulev, 36, lost his only previous world title fight to Klitschko inside five rounds in November 2014.
“We will not hug and hold, we will not run. We will stand and fight,” vowed Pulev (25-1).
“His style fits mine perfectly and in boxing, styles make fights. My preparation will be very intense and I will be perfectly ready when I enter the ring so that he will have no chance to beat me.”
Meanwhile, former world heavyweight champion David Haye said he would return to the ring before the end of the year but remained coy on the details.
The 36-year-old Briton, who has 28 wins from 31 bouts, ruptured an Achilles tendon in his defeat to underdog Tony Bellew in London in March.
The former WBA heavyweight champion, who was advised by doctors to retire after he underwent major shoulder surgery in 2013, has had long periods out of the ring without ever officially calling it a day.
“I am going to fight again before the end of the year,” the Briton told reporters at a news conference to announce the first event to be put on by his new promotion company Hayemaker Ringstar.
The main bout of the Oct 20 event will be the professional debut of Joe Joyce, Britain’s super-heavyweight silver medallist at last year’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
Joyce, who turns 32 this month, has signed with Haye and will be fighting 35-year-old Briton Ian Lewison.
“Joe has all the tools to be the best heavyweight on the planet,” said Haye. “He’s called ‘The Juggernaut’ because he just keeps on coming.
Anthony Joshua, right, in action against Wladimir Klitschko.