Boxing enthusiasts could still see Anthony Joshua vs Kubrat Pulev this year, as plans have been made to have a behind closed doors fight and one with a live audience in attendance.
Reigning champion, Joshua, was supposed to defend his IBF, WBO, and WBA (Super) heavyweight titles against Pulev at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in July, but the coronavirus pandemic disrupted plans.
Boxing promoter, Eddie Hearn, disclosed last month that the fight will take place in 2020 and was certain it could be organized in front of a minimal crowd at the O2 Arena.
Pilot programmes that allow viewers to attend sporting events in the UK tentatively returned over the weekend after it was initially stopped due to the rate of the coronavirus infection, starting with the World Snooker Championship Final.
More pilot events are to come with the aim of reopening venues from October 1 once again, however, with the uncertainty, talks for Joshua vs Pulev will go on with scenarios for both eventualities being considered and Matchroom CEO, Frank Smith, still believes that it will be held in the UK.
“We are in talks with team Pulev, [manager] Ivaylo Gotzev, [promoter] Bob Arum, all of his guys to try to make that happen for late November or early December,” Smith told Standard Sport.
“And hopefully in the UK. It’s very difficult to understand at the moment if there [will] be a crowd, won’t there be a crowd, that is just something that over time we are going to have to wait and see with really.
“But our aim is to get the fight on. AJ wants the fight, as does Pulev. And if that means behind closed doors, that’s what it means. But hopefully we are going in the right direction and are going to start seeing crowds come back.
“At some point [a decision will have to be made] but daily, these things are changing. I think the aim for us is to get the fight done. If there is a crowd [allowed], we do it with a crowd. If there isn’t, we do it without a crowd.
“That’s what we are working on now, the structure of a deal based on no crowd and one with a crowd. And then it’s on us to work as best we can alongside the government to try and get a crowd in there.”