Anthony Joshua may not fight in Great Britain until the spring or summer of 2021 due to the ongoing uncertainty amidst the coronavirus outbreak.
Promoter Eddie Hearn has revealed potential dates and site offers for Joshua vs Kubrat Pulev, which points to an outside venue eventually staging the mandatory bout.
The Matchroom boss had a confirmed summer bout in the pipeline. COVID-19 then stepped in to put everything boxing-related on hold.
After attempts for an August outdoor event were thwarted, Hearn admitted defeat in his quest for Joshua vs Pulev to be staged in the UK over the coming months with fans.
Hearn has now outlined target months for Anthony Joshua to return in front of a live British audience. If this isn’t a possibility, Hearn will take Joshua outside of his home country once again.
“We hope between September and December live gates will return to the UK. There is also a chance they won’t – if that’s the case, we will take the fight elsewhere,” Hearn told Sky Sports.
“We have had a number of approaches from the Middle East, China, and Croatia to stage the fight. We want to give ourselves every opportunity to stage it in the UK. But we know it may not be possible.”
The UK has the second-highest death rate in the world and is currently the epicenter of the virus in Europe. This means boxing is likely off the menu in front of fans until 2021, at the earliest.
Joshua will now call-off attempts to compete twice in 2020. Therefore, if the UK is unable to stage his one and only bout this year, it will be almost three years since AJ beat Alexander Povetkin on home soil back in 2018.
Since then, Joshua has fought in the United States and Saudi Arabia. Hearn’s plans have been well and truly scuppered.
“We have also now conceded that AJ will only fight once this year,” added the Essex man.
“Before it was all about getting that (mandatory) fight in early August. To make sure we could fight in December.
“Because of the preparation needed and the magnitude of his shows, AJ will only box once in 2020,” he concluded.