Anthony Joshua to fight Kubrat Pulev in London

LONDON (AFP) – Anthony Joshua confirmed yesterday that he will defend his world heavyweight titles against Kubrat Pulev in London on June 20.

The British boxer posted a picture of himself wearing his belts on his Twitter feed with the words “June 20th“.

Joshua, 30, regained the World Boxing Association (WBA), International Boxing Federation (IBF) and World Boxing Organisation (WBO) titles with unanimous points win over Andy Ruiz Jr last December.

That victory saw the Briton avenge the first defeat of his professional career, in New York last June.

Joshua is set to face Bulgaria’s Pulev, 38, at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in north London.

Pulev, who is the mandatory challenger for Joshua’s IBF title, pulled out of a scheduled meeting with the Briton in 2017 due to injury.

The prospects for a much-anticipated all-British “superfight” between Joshua and Tyson Fury suffered a setback when American Deontay Wilder said he would trigger a clause in his contract for a third meeting with Fury, the new World Boxing Council (WBC) champion.

Wilder has officially exercised his right to another fight against Fury and the plan is to stage the bout on July 18 in Las Vegas, United States media reported on Sunday.

“We received a letter from Wilder’s team on Friday night, and we agreed with the networks and the hotel that July 18 was the optimal date,” promoter Bob Arum told the Los Angeles Times newspaper.

Fury stopped Wilder in the seventh round of their heavyweight title rematch in Las Vegas last week – the American’s first defeat of his career.

Fury’s promoter Frank Warren had urged Wilder to ditch his re-match rights in return for a payment to pave the way for a lucrative unification bout between the self-styled ‘Gypsy King’ and Joshua later this year.

Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn said last week they would do “everything we can” to bring about a fight with Fury.

File photo shows Anthony Joshua posing with his WBA, IBF, WBO and International Boxing Organisation belts. PHOTO: AP