The much awaited fight between Anthony Joshua and Kubrat Pulev has been cancelled after the Bulgarian suffered an injury while training in preparation for the fight, Joshua now will defend his IBF and WBA heavyweight world titles against French Carlos Takam
Pulev was due to challenge for Joshua’s IBF and WBA heavyweight world titles on October 28 at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium with more than 70,000 tickets already sold but a damaged shoulder has wrecked those plans.
“IBF rules state that the mandatory will go to the next fighter in line, which is Carlos Takam.
It will be Joshua’s first fight since stopping Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley Stadium in April, adding the WBA title to the IBF belt he claimed in 2016.
Takam, ranked No 3 by the IBF, finalised a deal to step in at late notice on Monday night and will enter the fight as a heavy underdog, with the 36-year-old having lost three of his 39 fights.
The Cameroonian-French had been on standby for the fight.
“I received a call from [promoter] Kalle Sauerland late afternoon to inform me that Pulev had injured his shoulder and may be ruled out of the fight – this was later confirmed by his doctor,” promoter Eddie Hearn said
He went further and said ‘It’s a difficult position for AJ having prepared meticulously for the style and height of Pulev, he now faces a completely different style and challenge in Takam – this hasn’t happened in his career before but he is ready for all comers on October 28.’
He also stressed that Joshua does not want to vacate either of his belts and would rather defend them before hopefully facing WBC title holder Deontay Wilder of the United States in the summer of 2018.
The heavyweight division’s fourth recognised title is held by New Zealand’s Joseph Parker, who retained the WBO belt with a points victory over Briton Hughie Fury last month.
Pulev’s withdrawal is the latest frustration for Joshua, who was due to meet Wladimir Klitschko in a blockbuster rematch of his thrilling win in April before the Ukrainian retired.
But with more than 70,000 tickets already sold for his 20th professional fight, the show will at least go ahead. A crowd the region of 80,000 is expected, meaning the clash will break the world indoor record for a fight, last set in 1978 when Muhammad Ali fought Leon Spinks in front of 63,315 people at the at the New Orleans Superdome.