May face Bulgaria’s Pulev at Besiktas’ stadium in May
Kubrat Pulev has appeared to confirm that he will face world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua at Beskitas’ Vodafone Arena stadium in Istanbul in May.
The Bulgarian is ranked No 1 with the IBF and is Joshua’s mandatory challenger. The Brit, who holds the IBA, WBA and WBO belts, was given until the end of this month to agree terms to fight Pulev or face being stripped of the title.
Sportsmail understands that nothing has been signed despite reports claiming the fight is already a done deal – one of which was shared by Pulev on his official Facebook page.
Joshua and Pulev were due to meet at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium back in October 2017 but the Bulgarian was replaced by Carlos Takam at late notice after being forced out of the fight due to an injury. Pulev has recorded three victories since then, including one over fellow Brit Hughie Fury, while the only blemish on his record is a defeat against Wladimir Klitschko which came in his only world title fight to date back in 2014.
Joshua has also been officially ordered to fight WBO mandatory Oleksandr Usyk after regaining his titles in the impressive points win in the rematch with Andy Ruiz Jnr last month.
However, the Pulev fight has taken precedence and talks are reportedly ongoing between both camps.While early reports claim the fight will happen in the Turkish city, Joshua, to the contrary, has expressed desires to defend his titles back in the UK.
His promoter Eddie Hearn confirmed he had identified the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as a potential future venue in December. Joshua has only ventured outside of the UK twice in his professional career, fighting Ruiz Jnr in New York and Saudi Arabia.