The unified heavyweight champion will put his WBA ‘Super, IBF and WBO belts on the line against mandatory challenger Pulev after their initial June 20 date at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was pushed back.
Having travelled to America and Saudia Arabia for two fights against Andy Ruiz Jr, Joshua will take to the ring in the UK for the first time in over two years.
Pulev revealed the new date on his website earlier in the week, with Joshua and promoter Eddie Hearn now confirming the bout.
“December 12 is the date and once again the heavyweight belts go up in the air and it is my sole focus to make sure that come December 13 they are in their rightful place in the UK,” Joshua said, as per Sky Sports.
“The O2 is the original lion’s den, I have a lot of history with the arena, but without the fans something huge is missing.
“I am really hoping that, safety permitting, we might be able to bring some boxing fans in, but we will have to see. I respect every opponent and I respect Pulev. I wish him well during his preparation.”
Joshua must overcome Pulev to set up a stunning undisputed showdown with WBC champion Tyson Fury in 2021 but the Bulgarian, who pulled out of a scheduled fight with injury in 2017, insists he’s coming to London to win the belts.
“For a small country of Bulgaria to stand up for the heavyweight titles is a great accomplishment,” Pulev said, per Sky Sports.
“This fight is for my late father and all Bulgarians around the world! I’m coming to London to seize the heavyweight championship of the world.”
Meanwhile, Hearn is predicting a typically devastating performance from Joshua, also insisting he will do everything to get fans inside the prestigious arena.
He told Sky Sports: “Whilst it’s unusual to think of an AJ fight without tens of thousands of fans in attendance, we will be doing everything we can to lobby for the safe return of fans to this event.
“We have to move forward together. I know Team Pulev and Bob Arum will be doing all they can to become world champion on December 12, but AJ constantly evolves and improves and I expect a dominant performance and a spectacular KO to close out 2020.”