Anthony Joshua bout with Pulev makes Wembley switch to allow fans in arena

Anthony Joshua bout with Pulev makes Wembley switch to allow fans in arena

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 20 June, 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.”

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.

“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.”

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.

Meanwhile, a thousand fans will be allowed into each session of the World Darts Championship, but the famous fancy dress costumes will be banned at the event later this month. Spectators will be spaced out on tables of four rather than the usual long tables of vocal fans seen in previous years. Tickets for the event will go on sale on Thursday.

A fan in fancy dress hold up a sign for Fallon Sherrock during her match against Chris Dobey on day twelve of the William Hill World Championships at Alexandra Palace last year.