Unified heavyweight world titleholder Anthony Joshua will, as expected, make his next defense against mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev, on Oct. 28 at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.
Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter, said on Monday the announcement of Joshua’s next fight would come on Tuesday, but Pulev beat him to the punch, announcing the fight on social media.
“Anthony Joshua is a great competitor. Anthony Joshua is a great and dangerous rival, but his style fits perfectly with mine,” Pulev said. “My preparations are very intense for the short time I have. I’ll be completely ready when I get in the ring, so he doesn’t stand a chance against me.”
England’s Joshua (19-0, 19 KOs), 27, will be making his fourth title defense and fighting for the first time since his epic battle against former longtime world champion Wladimir Klitschko before 90,000 at Wembley Stadium in London on April 29.
Joshua, the 2012 Olympic super heavyweight gold medalist, dropped Klitschko three times overall — once in the fifth round and twice in the 11th — but hit the deck once himself in the sixth round of their all-time classic heavyweight championship fight before he stopped Klitschko in the 11th round and sent the former champion into retirement.
Klitschko had the right to an immediate rematch, but when he decided to retire at age 41, it put Pulev in position to get the next shot at Joshua, who retained one title belt and won a vacant one in the April bout.
Pulev (25-1, 13 KOs), 36, of Bulgaria, suffered his only defeat when Klitschko scored a crushing fifth-round knockout against him in a November 2014 world championship fight in what was that year’s knockout of the year. Pulev, who will be fighting in the United Kingdom for the first time, has won five fights in a row since, including a decision against British contender Derek Chisora and a third-round destruction of faded former world titleholder Samuel Peter.
Hearn had talked to representatives of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas about the possibility of putting on the fight at the T-Mobile Arena but ultimately decided to go to the 75,000-seat Principality Stadium (formerly Millennium Stadium), which has a retractable roof, making it ideal for the likely chilly fall conditions. Wembley Stadium, although larger, is an open-air facility.