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Crowd of 1,000 to watch Anthony Joshua's clash with Kubrat Pulev

Crowd of 1,000 to watch Joshua's clash with Pulev
© Reuters
Anthony Joshua will fight on home soil for the first time in more than two years.

The venue for Anthony Joshua's heavyweight clash with Kubrat Pulev has been switched from London's O2 Arena to the SSE Arena, Wembley, with 1,000 fans set to attend, Matchroom Boxing has announced.

Joshua, who has not fought since outpointing Andy Ruiz Jr to regain his titles in December 2019, was scheduled to take on the Bulgarian on June 20, but the bout was postponed until this month due to the coronavirus pandemic.

With the Government relaxing lockdown restrictions this week and with London placed in tier two of the new system, 1,000 fans will be able to attend the fight at Wembley following approval for a crowd from local authorities.

"Promoter logistics" have resulted in the clash being moved from the O2 Arena, but Matchroom Sport managing director Eddie Hearn is delighted to welcome spectators back.

He said: "I can't tell you how happy I am to see fans returning to our live boxing events. Whilst the team have done an incredible job over the last 10 months, we live and breathe through the energy and atmosphere that a live crowd generates.

"It's so fitting that they can return for an AJ fight, when through the last few years he has broken all kinds of attendance records in the UK and beyond. This is such a positive move for boxing and all sport."

John Drury, general manager of the arena, which is part of ASM Global's portfolio of venues, said: "The SSE Arena, Wembley is delighted to have our customers back for its reopening event, and it does not get any better than the return of fans to see Anthony Joshua in action.

"The SSE Arena, Wembley will open its doors with best-in-class procedures from ASM Global's VenueShield programme.  VenueShield is a comprehensive, industry-leading programme deployed at more than 325 ASM Global facilities around the world, providing the highest levels of enhanced cleanliness and safety.

Anthony Joshua after reclaiming the IBF, WBA, WBO & IBO World Heavyweight Championship belts after a points victory over Andy Ruiz Jr in Saudi Arabia last December
Anthony Joshua after reclaiming the IBF, WBA, WBO & IBO world heavyweight championship belts after a points victory over Andy Ruiz Jr in Saudi Arabia last December (Nick Potts/PA)

"As a response to the coronavirus pandemic, ASM Global has partnered with medical professionals, industry leaders and public health officials to create a welcoming, secure environment while providing the most advanced hygienic safeguards for anyone visiting the building.

"We are following all government and local authority health guidelines in order to reopen, and look forward to bringing fans and events back in a Covid-secure way."

In addition to Joshua defending his IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO belts, Lawrence Okolie will take on Krzysztof Glowacki for the vacant WBO cruiserweight world title, while Hughie Fury and Martin Bakole are also part of the card.

Tickets will go on sale at 10am on Friday on AXS and StubHub, priced between £100 and £1,000.


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