Anthony Joshua hopeful fans will be able to attend his title defence in London on Dec 12


WORLD heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Olufemi Joshua is hopeful that fans will be allowed into the O2 Arena when he defends his belts against Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev on December 12 in London.


Joshua, 31, is the holder of the International Boxing Federation (IBF), World Boxing Association, World Boxing Organisation and International Boxing Organisation belts. He was scheduled to defend his belts against IBF mandatory challenger Pulev on June 20 but the fight was postponed due to the Covid-19 outbreak.


Following the easing of some of the restrictions, the fight is now due to take place in December at the Tottenham Hotspurs Stadium in London. This rescheduled bout will be Joshua's first fight on home soil in over two years but he may have to compete behind closed doors.


He is hopeful, however, that by December, the authorities would have lifted the restrictions on fans attending fights. Plans for the return fans at stadiums for elite sporting events from October were put on hold by the government amid a rise in the novel coronavirus cases in the UK.


Joshua said: “The O2 is the original lion’s den. I have a lot of history with the arena but without the fans something huge is missing.


"I am really hoping that safety permitting, we might be able to bring some boxing fans in but we will have to see. I respect every opponent and I respect Pulev and I wish him well during his preparation.”