Eddie Hearn, promoter for IBF, WBA, WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, is taking all of the necessary precautions to ensure that his fighter’s mandatory defense goes through as scheduled.
Joshua will satisfy his mandatory obligation on December 12, when he faces Kubrat Pulev in the UK.
The fight was originally scheduled as a stadium bout on a date in June but is was pushed back due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
According to Hearn, the challenger will be arriving to the UK a lot earlier than usual to enter the required quarantine system.
“Kubrat Pulev will be making his way to London shortly, sooner than we think, and he will be entering the bubble weeks in advance. A lot of these top heavyweights and these guys who are earning considerable purses are being constantly tested on a daily basis,” Hearn told Sky Sports.
“You look at Derek Chisora, I think he was getting tested every other day. We will bring Pulev here. Every international fighter has to be tested before they travel, and we will make sure he’s in the bubble, in an enclosed environment, because you just can’t risk it. Normally on fight week, you get a five or 10 percent chance that a fight could fall through. Here it’s 50-50, for every fight.
“When you talk about a fight of that size, you have to take extra precautions and that will be making sure both guys are in a bubble, nice and early, and are locked away under strict surveillance to make sure that they’re good to go for fight night.”
If Pulev were to fall out for whatever reason, the next man in line, under the IBF, is the number two ranked Charles Martin – who Joshua knocked out in 2016 to capture his first world title.
And that’s why Martin’s manager, Mike Borao, doubts a rematch would happen.
“If the fight is cancelled for any reason, a number of scenarios could present. If Joshua is injured, I think it is very possible Martin and Pulev could fight for the vacant IBF title. In that case, IBF rule procedures would be followed. If Pulev is injured, although Charles is the next available contender, I doubt Joshua would opt for that bout, likely resulting in a vacated title as well,” Borao said.