Unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua won’t wait around to see whether Tyson Fury will be around this summer for a possible heavyweight title unification superfight for all the belts that matter in boxing. Instead, the 30-year-old from England will defend his IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles against Kubrat Pulev on June 20 in London.
The fight was announced on Thursday by promoter Eddie Hearn. The fight is scheduled to take place at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium per The Athletic’s Mike Coppinger and is expected to stream live in the U.S. on global sports streaming network DAZN.
Joshua Later Confirmed Next Fight Details
By Monday, Joshua had confirmed the initial reports about the fight by posting about his next bout against Pulev on social media.
The unified heavyweight champion Joshua is massively popular in his home country and will be returning there to face Pulev for the first time since stopping Alexander Povetkin in the seventh round in September 2018 at Wembley Stadium.
Joshua stunningly lost his belts via seventh-round stoppage to Andy Ruiz in one of the biggest upsets in boxing history in June 2019 in New York but righted the ship in the immediate rematch five months later by winning a decision over Ruiz in Saudia Arabia.
Why Joshua vs. Fury Isn’t Happening
Joshua vs. Pulev might not be the massive heavyweight championship match fans envisioned after seeing Fury dominate previously undefeated WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder last weekend, but it will at least keep Joshua active while Fury and Wilder sort out the details about their upcoming third fight.
Fury stopped Wilder in seven rounds in the rematch, but the American intends on enacting his rematch clause. That move would force Fury to take a third fight against Wilder even though most observers would rather see Fury face Joshua next to crown the first undisputed heavyweight champion in boxing since Lennox Lewis defeated Evander Holyfield in 1999.
So Joshua vs. Fury isn’t happening next because Fury still has unfinished business with Wilder, though it mostly looks like contractual business since he defeated Wilder so easily in his last fight.
Why Joshua vs. Fury Is Important
Joshua vs. Fury would have crowned an undisputed heavyweight champion, and that’s rare in the sport.
Fury holds the WBC title belt, along with the coveted championships tracked by The Ring magazine and the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board. Additionally, some people call Fury the lineal heavyweight champion because he defeated Wladimir Klitschko in 2015. In short, Fury beat the fighter most historians considered the lineal champion and never lost that honor in the ring.
Meanwhile, Joshua holds the IBF, WBA and WBO belts. That gives Joshua three of the four major boxing championships offered by boxing’s most prestigious sanctioning organizations. Additionally, Joshua is the IBO heavyweight champion, though most fans and media don’t recognize that as a major world title.
What ‘Undisputed’ Means in Professional Boxing
For any boxer to claim undisputed status, the fighter must win all four of the major world titles in boxing offered by the WBA, WBC, WBO and IBF. Joshua vs. Fury would accomplish that and determine without question the best heavyweight boxer in the world today.
There are currently no other undisputed boxing champions in any weight class. The last fighter to achieve that mark was former cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk in 2018, but Usyk vacated his titles the following year so he could move up to the heavyweight division.