Joshua poised for Dock­lands fight with Pulev in front of 2,000

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport - By Gareth A Davies boxing cor­re­spon­dent

Joshua’s de­fence of his three world heavy­weight ti­tles against Kubrat Pulev, and Dereck Chisora’s heavy­weight bat­tle against Olek­sandr Usyk, could both take place at the O2 Arena, Dock­lands, in front of crowds of 2,000 in Novem­ber and Oc­to­ber re­spec­tively, ac­cord­ing to pro­moter Ed­die Hearn.

“We are mak­ing plans to stage the rest of the year be­hind closed doors with the ex­cep­tion of those two events, which will be pay-per­view,” Hearn said. “It may be a case of con­vinc­ing people to at­tend, and go­ing through the right pro­ce­dures to get people into the O2 Arena.”

Pulev is a manda­tory chal­lenger to Joshua. If Usyk de­feats Chisora, the Ukrainian, who was the undis­puted world cruis­er­weight cham­pion be­fore he stepped up to the heavy­weight di­vi­sion, will be in line to chal­lenge Joshua.

There is still the Joshua-Tyson Fury con­test which fans have been crav­ing, with Hearn ex­plain­ing that the two fights which the pair have “agreed in prin­ci­ple” will re­quire “a lot of un­tan­gling” to make hap­pen in 2021, given that Dil­lian Whyte – who meets Alexan­der Povetkin on Aug 22 – is the manda­tory chal­lenger for Fury’s World Boxing Coun­cil crown. Fury is sched­uled to face De­on­tay Wilder this year.

“Both guys [Fury and Joshua] have ac­cepted the fact that it is agreed, and we are not say­ing that Fury-Wilder will not hap­pen, but there may be a ma­jor is­sue with the gates and crowds,” Hearn said.

“That’s why we have to keep plan­ning and mak­ing con­tin­gen­cies for all these fights to go ahead. Last year, the sums of money be­ing earned was out of con­trol. We have got to stop mak­ing de­ci­sions based on egos, and look at lim­it­ed­ca­pac­ity events in­stead for the very big­gest fights.”

Ex­cit­ing times: An­thony Joshua is ex­pected to fight in front of a home crowd again

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