Unified Heavyweight Champion of the World Anthony Joshua OBE will defend his IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO World Titles against Mandatory Challenger Kubrat Pulev at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday June 20, live on Sky Sports Box Office, on a show promoted by Matchroom Boxing in association with Top Rank and Epic Sports and Entertainment.
Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) recaptured his belts and position as the Unified Heavyweight World Champion with a masterful unanimous decision victory over Andy Ruiz Jr at the Diriyah Arena in Saudi Arabia on an historical night in December that saw the Heavyweight World Titles contested for the very first time in the Middle East.
June 20 will be ‘AJ’s’ first fight on UK soil in nearly two years, since he defended his crowns with a devastating seventh round knockout of Russia’s Alexander Povetkin at Wembley Stadium, and the former Finchley ABC man will be aiming to deal with Pulev in style to set up an Undisputed showdown against new WBC Champion and fellow Brit Tyson Fury down the line.
Pulev (28-1, 14 KOs), the IBF’s No.1-ranked Heavyweight Mandatory Challenger, gets his second shot at World honours after his defeat to modern legend Wladimir Klitschko in 2014 – the only loss of his 29-fight professional career. He has won six fights in a row since then, including victories over Derek Chisora and an IBF Eliminator win over Hughie Fury in 2018.
The Bulgarian superstar was set to challenge Joshua at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium in October 2017 but was forced to withdraw through an injury and will now get his opportunity to ruin the champion’s plans to face Fury in an all-British blockbuster showdown in the future.
“On June 20, I am defending my Heavyweight World Titles,” said Joshua. “I’m back in my home city after some time away. A spectacular stadium has been built in North London and I’m honoured to bring the boxing community from all over the world to witness us make history with the stadium’s first Heavyweight World Title fight. The belts go back up in the air and nothing will stop me from being victorious.”
“I am happy to have the opportunity to show the world how strong I really am,” said Pulev. “Becoming a Heavyweight World Champion has always been my mission in life and on June 20 2020 I will fulfil my destiny!”
“I’m so excited to see Anthony Joshua return to the capital, 70,000 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is going to be very special,” said Eddie Hearn. “2019 was a crazy year that had everything – the only thing missing was a UK fight and as we go into what I believe will be the biggest year of ‘AJ’s’ career so far, all our attention turns to Kubrat Pulev in an absolute must win fight. Pulev is undefeated in six years and his team and especially Bob Arum really fancy this. I think you are going to see something special from ‘AJ’ on June 20 – a destructive performance on the road to undisputed.”
Bob Arum, Top Rank Chairman, said: “Kubrat Pulev has earned his ranking, and he is going to enemy territory prepared to pull off the upset. Ever since Top Rank signed Kubrat last year, I have seen a determined Heavyweight on a mission to win the Heavyweight Title. He has been in this situation before, and he won’t be intimidated by the tens of thousands of Joshua fans at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. June 20 is going to be another historic evening in the Heavyweight division.”
John Wirt, President of Epic Sports and Entertainment, said: “This fight has been a long time coming, but we finally have Joshua cornered and on June 20, I guarantee Pulev will be victorious and Great Britain’s recently acquired chokehold on the Heavyweight division Championship will be brought to a quick and sudden ending.”
“We’re absolutely delighted about Anthony Joshua’s homecoming World Title fight against Kubrat Pulev at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, said Adam Smith, Head of Sky Sports Boxing Development. “Pulev is a dangerous proposition, with plenty of top level experience, and ‘AJ’ will need to be at his best to retain his belts in front of his home support.
“We’ve covered every step of ‘AJ’s’ journey, including his impressive rematch win over Andy Ruiz Jr in Saudi Arabia, and now he’s back in Britain at the home of Spurs. I recently visited the stadium and was blown away by the state-of-the-art facilities. It will provide a stunning backdrop for Britain’s Unified World Heavyweight Champion.”
Ticket information will be announced in due course.
Dillian Whyte will make the first defence of his WBC Interim Heavyweight World Title against Alexander Povetkin at Manchester Arena on Saturday May 2, live on Sky Sports Box Office.
Brixton’s Whyte (27-1, 18 KOs) landed the WBC Title with a unanimous decision win over Oscar Rivas in an exciting battle at The O2 in London back in July 2019 before travelling to Saudi Arabia in December where he outpointed former World Title challenger Mariusz Wach on the Ruiz vs. Joshua 2 undercard.
Russian dangerman Povetkin (35-2-1, 24 KOs), an Olympic gold medallist and former WBA World Champion, proved that he still has what it takes to be a force in the Heavyweight division in 2019 with a win over Hughie Fury in August and a split decision draw with rising Heavyweight contender Michael Hunter in an all-out war in Diriyah.
“This is a great fight, Povetkin is an Olympic gold medallist, has loads of experience, he’s a former World Champion and he’s only lost to Joshua and Klitschko,” said Whyte. “He is still very dangerous, he gave AJ a lot of problems and then beat Hughie Fury. I am not overlooking him at all, he will come in shape, he’s tough and very well-schooled.
“You only have to look at his resume to see that he’s always been considered as one of the most fearsome punchers in the Heavyweight division with big KO wins over Huck, Charr, Takam, Wach and Price. He showed in Saudi Arabia that he still has a lot left in the tank and he is still very dangerous. I’ve got respect for him but I’m on to maximum violence, straight animal instinct.
“I want to be Heavyweight Champion of the World so anywhere in the world is my lion’s den. If you aspire to be World Champion, you should be able to fight anywhere. Manchester is a great city with great fight fans and I’m looking forward to going back there.”
“I am pleased to fight Whyte, it has long been discussed but didn’t happen for whatever reason,” said Povetkin. “Dillian is a good strong boxer and it will make for an interesting fight. I am not about big announcements, I am about winning in the ring, and on May 2nd people will see a spectacular fight.”
“This is a Heavyweight thriller and so important to the landscape of the division,” said Eddie Hearn. “Dillian Whyte sits as Mandatory Challenger to Tyson Fury and while the wait is frustrating, Dillian continues to take high risk fights and that’s why he is such a fans’ favourite.
“The last time Dillian fought at this arena, we witnessed all time classic against Derek Chisora, We are planning a huge night in Manchester as Dillian Whyte continues to march towards a shot at the Heavyweight World Title.”
“I think all boxing fans can agree that we are up for a great fight,” said Head of World of Boxing Promotions Andrey Ryabinskiy. “Both stylistically and in terms of what’s at stake in this fight makes it a spectacular and anticipated event.
“Of course, we believe in Alexander but have to understand that Dillian Whyte is a tough opponent who’s strong and ambitious, besides he has come a long way to be in a championship fight. Many would wait out for an easier opportunity, but he decided that he needs this fight and it commands respect.”
“Dillian Whyte guarantees Heavyweight drama and we’re expecting another explosive encounter against Alexander Povetkin,” said Adam Smith, Head of Sky Sports Boxing Development.
“Whyte is within touching distance of a World Title, but still keeps taking risks against dangerous rivals, and we’ve already seen the threat of Povetkin, who overpowered David Price and posed early problems to Anthony Joshua.
“Dillian can prove himself again as one of the world’s best and there could be a very special announcement in the coming days. May 2 in Manchester should be a magnificent night of boxing.”
WHYTE VS. POVETKIN PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES
“What a fight! Dillian Whyte against Alexander Povetkin for the WBC Interim World Heavyweight Championship live and exclusive on Sky Sports Box Office. The response to this fight in the last 24 hours has been incredible and we’ll talk more about the fight and of course the importance of the Heavyweight division right now which will always be the flag bearer for the professional code. Three months ago, all of the belts with the PBC in America, now of course all of those belts in Britain with Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua.
“This man to my right, Dillian Whyte, the official Mandatory Challenger for Tyson Fury, but will he wait, will he take the easy fights? Absolutely not. When I first sat down with him at the beginning of the year I said to him ‘what do you want from this year other than World Titles?’ and he said ‘I would like maximum violence’. It scared me a lot, I won’t lie. I thought about what kind of card and what kind of fight could deliver that and when I mentioned Alexander Povetkin Dillian Whyte licked his lips.
“Two of the best left hookers in the sport, two top ten, in my opinion top 5 Heavyweights in the world right now. Two guys who have been involved in huge nights, huge fights. Two guys who can punch, two guys that have great chins. Two guys that aren’t afraid to trade, two guys who have consistently given fans value for money again and again.
“The last time we came to Manchester, you remember what Dillian Whyte gave you. He gave you a fight with Derek Chisora that we will never ever forget. We have a monstrous card coming in, including one fight that I want to tell you about but I’m waiting for the contract to hit my email. We will announce the full card prior to general sale which is this Friday.”
Adam Smith, Head of Sky Sports Boxing Development:
“Thanks Eddie I can’t wait for that other fight as well – mouthwatering. This is about the Heavyweights and the Heavyweights come back to Manchester. What a fight that was between Dillian and Derek on the Anthony Joshua card a few years back. We’ve had Mike Tyson come here of course, David Haye, it’s a Heavyweight city for boxing. Let’s see it absolutely rammed on May 2nd. What a time for Heavyweight boxing, Anthony Joshua returning after reclaiming his titles out in Saudi Arabia.
“I was the fortunate enough to be in Vegas a couple of weeks ago for the brilliant performance from Tyson Fury to be Deontay Wilder for the first time. All of the belts are in British hands, all the titles. But let’s not forget Dillian, he’s waited very patiently. He’s been Mandatory for a long time, he often feels like he’s left out. He came into our offices in January and said this is my year, this is my time, I want the biggest and best fights.
“This guy sitting next to us Alexander Povetkin we know about his utter pedigree and his quality throughout. From Olympic gold medallist, to reigning World Champion. Only those two defeats to Wladimir Klitschko and Anthony Joshua. We saw what he did to David Price, he’s so aggressive, he’s so exciting, the styles are going to gel fantastically well between Dillian and Alexander on May 2nd, it’s a really important fight night particularly for Dillian as he moves forward. He’s going to get that opportunity, and I’ll go everything that I can personally to help him with that. He’s going to get his chance soon. He’s got business to take card of first on May 2nd.”
Dillian Whyte – Brixton, England – 27-1, 18 KOs – defending his Interim WBC Heavyweight World Title against Alexander Povetkin:
“I remember watching him fight Cedric Boswell when I had about three, or one fight. I remember him smashing Cedric Boswell to bits and Hasim Rahman – this guy is serious and now it’s my time to bring some maximum violence to him. Funny world of boxing, eh.
“He’s been through the mill, seen every style. I haven’t, I’m still learning. I’m learning on the job, in the deep end swimming. For me to fight these kind of guys is a massive learning opportunity for me. I believe I beat them all anyway. I just got to be in shape. Leave the cakes alone, I’m good.
“I’m not thinking about Tyson Fury, what’s happening with him, I’m just thinking about Alexander Povetkin, because he’s dangerous and he’s going to want to come and fight and leave it all on the line.
“That’s just in his DNA. We’re very similar in that mindset in that we come and give it our all, so I’m just focused on him. We’ll see what happens on May 2. We’ll have a chat about Tyson Fury and that. Now I’ll put that on the back-burner and just focus on Alexander Povetkin for the next eight weeks.”
Mark Tibbs, trainer of Dillian Whyte:
“Povetkin is very dangerous. He’s had a very highly-decorated amateur and pro career. This fight for Dillian is very very important. It’s one that’s going to get his juices flowing. I feel like it’s going to be the birth of the all-rounder box fighter, the birth of a completed fighter. We don’t underestimate anyone. It’s going to be a proper humdinger. There’s three ways to beating this guy, whether it’s going forward or going back, or standing there and planting our feet and letting them go. It was a tough year but Dillian is back and I’m confident this is his time.”
Alexander Povetkin – Brixton, Russia – 35-2-1, 24 KOs – challenging Dillian Whyte for the Interim WBC Heavyweight World Title:
“I am very happy to be back in the UK because people are very good and very knowledgable with regards to boxing and I am looking forward to my fight with Dillian, Dillian is a very strong opponent.
“I do understand that it is a very important fight for Dillian, but it is no less important fight for me and I will do my best, apply all my effort to make this fight interesting.”
Maxim Mikhaylov, World of Boxing Promotions:
“Hi everyone, we are happy to be here again. Thank you to Eddie, to Matchroom Boxing, all of their staff, it’s a big pleasure to be working with you. Sasha fought in the biggest arena in the UK so it’s part of his history. There is nobody from the Russian fighters who fought in front of 80,000 people. It was historical for him.
“I want to say thank you to Dillian Whyte for taking this fight and for not waiting around for his World Title shot with easy fights. It will be a difficult fight for him because Sasha will be highly motivated. It will be a tremendous fight on May 2nd.”
Tickets for Whyte vs. Povetkin are priced £40, £60, £80, £100, £150, £200 and £400 (VIP).
Tickets go on sale to Fight Pass members from 10.00am on Thursday March 5 via StubHb
THE big and much anticipated heavyweight showdown between Britain’s undefeated KO merchants ‘Dynamite’ Daniel Dubois and Olympic silver medalist ‘Juggernaut’ Joe Joyce is finally on.
The pair will duke it out at The O2, London on Saturday April 11 live on BT Sport Box Office.
British, Commonwealth, WBC Silver and WBO International champion, Dubois will go in against Joyce, the WBA Gold champion and the former Commonwealth and WBA Continental champion, ranked No.1 by the EBU.
It is a fight that has been brewing since the London pair were put forward to contend for the British title last summer, but ultimately headed in alternate directions, with Dubois (14-0) taking on fellow young heavy Nathan Gorman and Joyce (10-0) scoring a notable win over the experienced American Bryant Jennings.
There can be little dispute that Dubois and Joyce are the frontrunners when it comes to the emerging forces in the heavyweight division, and the winner of their much anticipated 12-round battle will be on the brink of a world heavyweight title challenge.
For Dubois, 22, it is a natural next step following his belt-collecting exploits since turning professional in April 2017 and subsequently winning nine championship titles inside 41 rounds of action.
Dubois, ranked number three by the WBO said: “This is the biggest fight of my career without doubt. This will be the fight that announces me to the world.
“I think I am better than Joe in every department. I have a better jab, I have better movement, I have more power. The only thing Joe has over me is experience, but he’s never boxed anyone as young and as hungry as me.
“This will be the most devastating performance of my career.”
Joyce, 34, won the Commonwealth title in his fourth professional fight, having made his professional debut in October 2017, and won his WBA strap in December 2018 following a first round stoppage of Joe Hanks.
He defeated former WBC world champion Bermane Stiverne via a sixth round KO in February 2019 and then scored a quick fire third round victory over the giant Alexander Ustinov in his first appearance as a Queensberry Promotions fighter last May.
The unanimous points decision over Jennings came in the July before a period of inactivity followed while he awaited mandatory shots at the European and WBA Regular titles that have yet to come to fruition.
Besides his Gold belt, Joyce enjoys high rankings with the WBC and WBO.
He said: “This is a massive fight there’s no denying that there’s a lot on the line on both sides but experience is something you can’t buy and I’ve got tonnes of it and I believe it’ll play a huge factor in this fight.”
Now an epic domestic duel awaits between two of British boxing’s biggest stars and Frank Warren who promotes both boxers is delighted to deliver it for fight fans.
“People always talks about wanting the best to fight the best,” said the Hall of Fame promoter.
“Well, on February 22 we have the No.1 and No.2 heavyweights in the world settling a score in Las Vegas, then in April we have the two best up and coming heavyweights in the world putting it on the line at the O2 Arena.
“It is a fight that needed to be made to see which man is ready to challenge the elite at the top end of the division and which one will reset and go again.
“This is one both men could easily have avoided and navigated a less perilous route to the top, but they want to get it on and give the fans what they want to see.
“When that first bell rings and it will be edge-of-seat stuff right from the off.
“The contrast in styles will be fascinating, Daniel being a classic banger, with strong fundamentals and a ramrod jab that gets better all the time. Joe has got a style all of his own and comes at his opponents relentlessly from every angle.
“Can Daniel withstand the swarming force of Joe? Can Joe absorb the bludgeoning power of Daniel? We’ll find out soon enough on April 18 and it is absolutely one not to be missed.”
Sam Jones who heads Joyce’s management company S-JAM Boxing added: “This is a monster fight for Joe. We are proud that after only 10 fights he will headline The O2 in a pay-per-view fight against one of the most exciting young boxers in the UK.
“We are all confident that Joe will win. His experience and amateur pedigree will shine through on this massive night for British boxing.”
YARDE vs ARTHUR ADDED TO O2 BLOCKBUSTER
THE EAGERLY ANTICIPATED ‘Seek and Destroy’ showdown between Daniel Dubois and Joe Joyce at the o2 Arena on April 11 now has a blockbuster chief support in place with Anthony Yarde set to take on the unbeaten Lyndon Arthur.
In what is another huge domestic duel, Yarde – who lost out in a world title challenge to Sergey Kovalev on away soil in August of last year – goes in with Manchester’s former Team GB product and Commonwealth champion Arthur in what is certain to be a pulsating collision of big-punching light heavyweights.
Prior to his venture to Chelyabinsk – Kovalev’s home town – Yarde had stopped all but one of his previous opponents and worked his way to the No.1 position with the WBO, winning the Southern Area, WBO European and WBO Intercontinental titles along the way.
Before this, the explosive 28-year-old known as ‘The Beast’ had not been taken beyond seven rounds and he currently holds a 90 per cent KO-ratio. Yarde’s ring record stands at 19-1 (18 KOs).
Decorated amateur Arthur, also 28, has registered 12 KOs from his 16 professional fights and won his Commonwealth crown last time out against Emmanuel Anim in December.
Trained by Pat Barrett at the Collyhurst and Moston Gym, ‘King Arthur’ has long considered himself the dark horse of the currently hot division and was patiently awaiting a breakthrough opportunity against one of the marquee domestic light heavyweights.
His wait is nearly over and we can expect a fascinating clash between a vastly experienced former amateur star and one who exploded onto the scene and thrived despite a limited amateur background.
Further title action comes in the form of a British welterweight championship rematch between Chris Jenkins (22-3-3, 8 KOs) from Garnant in Wales and ‘The Pexican’, Peckham’s Johnny Garton (21-2-1, 10 KOs).
The pair met in March 2019 when Garton was champion – having won the belt in a thriller against Gary Corcoran – at the Royal Albert Hall. Jenkins prevailed via the scorecards after an enthralling encounter and now he makes his third defence, having clocked up a victory over Paddy Gallagher and a technical draw last time out with Liam Taylor, where the fight was stopped due to a severe cut.
WBO European super featherweight champion Archie Sharp (18-0, 9 KOs) will be in title action at the o2, along with the WBO European super welterweight champion Hamzah Sheeraz (10-0, 6 KOs).
‘Sharpshooter’ Sharp clinched his champion status in October 2018 with the defeat of the then unbeaten Lyon Woodstock in Leicester. He has since made three successful defences of his title and has broken into the top-five of the WBO world rankings.
Sheeraz, just 20, won his belt with an impressive stoppage of Birmingham’s experienced campaigner Ryan Kelly in November.
Also featuring on the stacked Dubois-Joyce undercard is big-hitting middleweight Denzel Bentley (12-0, 10 KOS), top heavyweight prospect and Tyson Fury sparring partner David Adeleye (1-0, 1 KO) and precocious bantamweight talent Dennis McCann (6-0, 4 KOs).
McCann’s Queensberry iBox Gym teammates Sam Noakes (3-0, 3 KOs), Henry Turner (2-0) and Micky Burke jr (3-0) join him on the big show.
Tickets are now on sale via AXS.com and Ticketmaster.co.uk
£400 Ringside – Hospitality
£55 Upper Tier
£40 Upper Tier