Anthony Joshua expected to fight Kubrat Pulev in December but it's likely to be behind closed doors
Anthony Joshua’s fight against Kubrat Pulev later this year has a ‘very good chance’ of being behind closed doors, according to promoter Eddie Hearn.
Joshua was originally scheduled to take on the Bulgarian at a packed-out Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on June 20 before the coronavirus pandemic forced a postponement.
And while Hearn is hoping to wait until December to try to secure a crowd for the fight this year, he admits they could be forced to put the world heavyweight champion in an empty venue.
"We know AJ's only going to fight once this year, so we want to give ourselves the best opportunity to bring in a crowd, and that would obviously be the later the better," Hearn told ESPN.
"But it's still not a gimme at all. There's still a very strong chance that AJ will have to fight behind closed doors."
Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently cancelled small crowds attending several test events such as the World Snooker Championships due to the rise in coronavirus cases, a move which will delay the return of bigger audiences in sport.
In an ideal world Hearn will look to stage the event in a smaller venue such as The 02 rather than AJ’s usual stadium shows.
However, arenas such as The 02 cannot open to sporting events until the government deems it safe to do so.
"Their regulations comply with the government, so at the moment they're closed," Hearn added.
"So they would need to open up. We'd need to get an understanding from the government what is allowed in arenas. Are you going to open at 50 per cent [capacity]? Are you going to open up 100 per cent? There's a lot of work that has to go into that with the government and The O2."
Joshua has not fought since defeating Andy Ruiz Jr in their rematch in Saudi Arabia at the end of last year.