Joshua-Pulez set for December 12

Unified Heavyweight Champion of the World Anthony Joshua will defend his IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO World Titles against Mandatory Challenger Kubrat Pulev at The O2 in London on Saturday December 12, live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and on DAZN in all of its nine markets including the U.S., on a show promoted by Matchroom Boxing in association with Top Rank and Epic Sports and Entertainment.

Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) recaptured his belts and position as the Unified Heavyweight World Champion with a masterful unanimous decision victory over Andy Ruiz Jr at the Diriyah Arena in Saudi Arabia on an historical night in December that saw the Heavyweight World Titles contested for the very first time in the Middle East.

December 12 will be ‘AJ’s’ first fight on UK soil in over two years, since he defended his crowns with a devastating seventh round knockout of Russia’s Alexander Povetkin at Wembley Stadium, and the former Finchley ABC man will be aiming to deal with Pulev in style to set up an Undisputed showdown against WBC Champion and fellow Brit Tyson Fury in 2021.

Pulev (28-1, 14 KOs), the IBF’s No.1-ranked Heavyweight Mandatory Challenger, gets his second shot at World honours after his defeat to modern legend Wladimir Klitschko in 2014 – the only loss of his 29-fight professional career. He has won six fights in a row since then, including victories over Derek Chisora and an IBF Eliminator win over Hughie Fury in 2018.

The Bulgarian superstar was set to challenge Joshua at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium in October 2017 but was forced to withdraw through an injury and will now get his opportunity to ruin the champion’s plans to face Fury in an all-British blockbuster showdown in the future.

“December 12 is the date and once again the Heavyweight belts go up in the air and it is my sole focus to make sure that come December 13 they are in their rightful place in the UK,” said Joshua.

“The O2 is the original lion’s den, I have a lot of history with the arena, but without the fans something huge is missing. I am really hoping that, safety permitting, we might be able to bring some boxing fans in, but we will have to see.  I respect every opponent and I respect Pulev. I wish him well during his preparation.”

“For a small country of Bulgaria to stand up for the Heavyweight Titles is a great accomplishment,” said Pulev. “This fight is for my late father and all Bulgarians around the world! I’m coming to London to seize the Heavyweight Championship of the World.”

“After a challenging year for everyone, to end with the unified World Heavyweight Championship is very special,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “Over a year after regaining his crown, Anthony Joshua takes on yet another dangerous opponent in Mandatory Challenger Kubrat Pulev. AJ’s resume is unrivaled, and this is the final hurdle until we challenge for the undisputed crown next year.

“Whilst it’s unusual to think of an AJ fight without tens of thousands of fans in attendance, we will be doing everything we can to lobby for the safe return of fans to this event, we have to move forward together. I know Team Pulev and Bob Arum will be doing all they can to become World Champion on Dec 12 but AJ constantly evolves and improves and I expect a dominant performance and a spectacular KO to close out 2020.”

“Anthony Joshua returns to the ring, a year after recapturing his World Titles from Andy Ruiz Jr, and Britain’s Unified World Champion will be determined to reign supreme in a hotly-contested Heavyweight division,” said Adam Smith, Head of Sky Sports Boxing Development.

“Kubrat Pulev has proven pedigree, with just that sole defeat to Wladimir Klitschko, and he’ll be hoping to send more shockwaves through the sport with an upset victory, but I know that AJ has been training tirelessly, priming his explosive power for another night of fireworks.

“Tyson Fury will of course be watching – as an Undisputed World Title fight is within touching distance – and AJ cannot afford a slip-up in a blockbuster ending to the boxing year.”

DAZN is currently available in the U.S., as well as Austria, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain and Switzerland.

Joshua-Pulev set for 6/20 in London

Unified Heavyweight Champion of the World Anthony Joshua OBE will defend his IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO World Titles against Mandatory Challenger Kubrat Pulev at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday June 20, live on Sky Sports Box Office, on a show promoted by Matchroom Boxing in association with Top Rank and Epic Sports and Entertainment.

Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) recaptured his belts and position as the Unified Heavyweight World Champion with a masterful unanimous decision victory over Andy Ruiz Jr at the Diriyah Arena in Saudi Arabia on an historical night in December that saw the Heavyweight World Titles contested for the very first time in the Middle East.

June 20 will be ‘AJ’s’ first fight on UK soil in nearly two years, since he defended his crowns with a devastating seventh round knockout of Russia’s Alexander Povetkin at Wembley Stadium, and the former Finchley ABC man will be aiming to deal with Pulev in style to set up an Undisputed showdown against new WBC Champion and fellow Brit Tyson Fury down the line.

Pulev (28-1, 14 KOs), the IBF’s No.1-ranked Heavyweight Mandatory Challenger, gets his second shot at World honors after his defeat to modern legend Wladimir Klitschko in 2014 – the only loss of his 29-fight professional career. He has won six fights in a row since then, including victories over Derek Chisora and an IBF Eliminator win over Hughie Fury in 2018.

The Bulgarian superstar was set to challenge Joshua at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium in October 2017 but was forced to withdraw through an injury and will now get his opportunity to ruin the champion’s plans to face Fury in an all-British blockbuster showdown in the future.

“On June 20, I am defending my Heavyweight World Titles,” said Joshua. “I’m back in my home city after some time away. A spectacular stadium has been built in North London, and I’m honored to bring the boxing community from all over the world to witness us make history with the stadium’s first Heavyweight World Title fight. The belts go back up in the air and nothing will stop me from being victorious.”

“I am happy to have the opportunity to show the world how strong I really am,” said Pulev. “Becoming a Heavyweight World Champion has always been my mission in life and on June 20 2020 I will fulfil my destiny!”

“I’m so excited to see Anthony Joshua return to the capital, 70,000 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is going to be very special,” said Eddie Hearn. “2019 was a crazy year that had everything – the only thing missing was a UK fight and as we go into what I believe will be the biggest year of ‘AJ’s’ career so far, all our attention turns to Kubrat Pulev in an absolute must win fight. Pulev is undefeated in six years and his team and especially Bob Arum really fancy this. I think you are going to see something special from ‘AJ’ on June 20 – a destructive performance on the road to undisputed.”

Bob Arum, Top Rank Chairman, said: “Kubrat Pulev has earned his ranking, and he is going to enemy territory prepared to pull off the upset. Ever since Top Rank signed Kubrat last year, I have seen a determined Heavyweight on a mission to win the Heavyweight Title. He has been in this situation before, and he won’t be intimidated by the tens of thousands of Joshua fans at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. June 20 is going to be another historic evening in the Heavyweight division.”

Kubrat Pulev returns on 11/9 against Rydell Booker

IBF No. 1 heavyweight contender Kubrat Pulev returns to the ring to face Rydell Booker in a 10-round clash Saturday, November 9 at Chukchansi Park in downtown Fresno, California.

Pulev-Booker will serve as the co-feature to the Jamel Herring-Lamont Roach Jr. WBO junior lightweight world title bout and both fights will live stream on ESPN+, starting at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

The entire undercard will stream on ESPN+ beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT.

“Kubrat Pulev is ready to fight for a heavyweight title today, but he has one final test before that can become a reality,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “He is motivated to knock out Booker and get ready for his title shot in early 2020.”

“This fight with Rydell Booker is very important because of what’s at stake,” Pulev said. “Everything is on the line. I am the top contender in the heavyweight division, and I am the mandatory challenger for the winner of the Andy Ruiz Jr.-Anthony Joshua rematch. I want the winner. It doesn’t matter who it is.”

“It’s a big deal for me. This is a chance for me to show everyone that I still have it,” Booker said. “I haven’t missed a beat. This opportunity couldn’t have come at a better time. I was in camp with Oleksandr Usyk for six weeks before I got the fight. The numbers made sense, so I jumped at the opportunity.”

Pulev (27-1, 14 KOs), one of Bulgaria’s most prominent sporting figures, has won seven fights in a row since challenging Wladimir Klitschko in a failed bid for the unified heavyweight title in November 2014. He earned the IBF No. 1 ranking last October with a unanimous decision over Hughie Fury in his hometown of Sofia, Bulgaria.

Pulev maintained his ranking with a seventh-round knockout over Bogdan Dinu in the main event of a Top Rank on ESPN telecast March 23 in Costa Mesa, California. He faces Booker (26-2, 13 KOs), a 38-year-old Detroit native who is 4-1 since returning in February 2018 from serving a 12-year prison term for a drug conviction. A cruiserweight contender in the early 2000s, Booker now hopes a return to boxing can help him outside of the ring as well.

In other undercard action:

  • Middleweight sensation Janibek Alimkhanuly (7-0, 3 KOs) hopes to bring his brand of “Qazaq Style” to Fresno when he defends his WBC Continental Americas and WBO Global belts against former NABO and Canadian middleweight champion Albert Onolunose (24-2-1, 8 KOs) in a 10-rounder. Alimkhanuly is trained by Hall of Famer Buddy McGirt and has knocked out two of his last three foes.

  • Longtime middleweight contender and 2012 Olympic silver medalist Esquiva Falcao (24-0, 16 KOs) will continue his march up the rankings in a 10-rounder against Manny Woods (16-8-1, 6 KOs). Falcao was the first Brazilian boxer to reach an Olympic final and is ranked No. 7 by the IBF and No. 6 by the WBC.

  • The pride of Stockton, California, Gabriel Flores Jr. (15-0, 6 KOs), will see his hometown fans head south to watch him face Aelio Mesquita (19-4, 17 KOs) in an eight-round lightweight fight. The 19-year-old Flores packed more than 10,000 fans into the Stockton Arena back in May and is perhaps the sport’s top ticket-selling prospect

  • Former world title challenger Amir Imam (21-2, 18 KOs) wi.ll make his long-awaited ring return versus Marcos Mojica (16-4-2, 12 KOs) in an eight-round welterweight fight. Imam, who recently signed with Top Rank, hasn’t fought since a March 2018 decision loss to Jose Ramirez for the vacant WBC super lightweight world title.

  • Robeisy Ramirez (0-1), a two-time Olympic gold medalist from Cuba, will look to rebound from a shocking defeat in his professional debut against Fernando Ibarra De Anda (2-1, 0 KOs) in a six-rounder at featherweight.

  • David Kaminsky (5-0, 2 KOs), the 19-year-old Israeli-born middleweight prospect, will face an opponent to be named in a six-rounder.

Photos: Kubrat Pulev stops Bogdan Dinu

Kubrat Pulev wanted to send a resounding message to the big names of the heavyweight division, and he did so by scoring an emphatic knockout victory in front of a sold-out crowd at The Hangar.

After recovering from a flurry of punches that caused a dangerous cut on his left eyebrow in the fourth episode, the Bulgarian contender blasted Bogdan Dinu by technical knockout at 2:40 of the seventh round.

“This is just part of being in a fight. The cut was not such a big problem. Sometimes blood makes me very hungry”, said Pulev. “I was very well prepared. I was ready for anything. At this moment I feel I can do anything inside the ring. I showed very good boxing skills. I also showed that I have good punching power and a good strategy”.

Photos/Top Rank/Mikey Williams:

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