Joshua’s heavyweight title defence postponed by coronavirus

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LONDON Anthony Joshua’s world heavyweight title defence against mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev has been officially postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak, promoters Matchroom Sport announced Friday. The British champion was due to put his WBA (Super), IBF, WBO and IBO belts up for grabs against Bulgarian challenger Pulev at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadiumin London on June 20. But the global spread of COVID-19 has put paid to a bout on that date. “Anthony Joshua’s defence of his IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO heavyweight world titles against mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev scheduled to take place at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday June 20 has been postponed,” said a Matchroom statement. “A new date for the event promoted byMatchroomBoxing and 258 Management in association with Top Rank and Epic Sports Entertainment is currently being worked on. “We will announce any updates in due course and continue to explore the possibility of hosting this fight at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.” The 30-year-old fell to a shock seven-round defeat atthe hands ofAndyRuiz Jr atMadison Square Garden in June last year to relinquish his WBA, WBO and IBF world titles. However, he reclaimedthe belts with an accomplished performancein SaudiArabia as he defeated the Mexican by pointsto set up a potential clash with Tyson Fury. The clamour for an all-British world title fight was ramped up even further when Fury claimed the WBC crown from Deontay Wilder in February but Joshua was ordered to take on mandatory challenger Pulev. —AFP