World heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua is hopeful that boxing fans will be allowed at The O 2 in London when he defends his IBF , WBA , WBO and IBO titles against Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev on Dec . 12 .
Joshua , 31 , was scheduled to defend his belts against IBF mandatory challenger Pulev on June 20 but the fight was postponed due to the COVID – 19 outbreak .
The rescheduled bout will be the Briton ’ s first on home soil in over two years but he may have to compete behind closed doors .
“ The O 2 is the original lion ’ s den, I have a lot of history with the arena , but without the fans something huge is missing ,” Joshua said .
Plans for the return fans at stadiums for elite sporting events from October were put on hold by the government amid a rise in the novel coronavirus cases in the United Kingdom .
“ I am really hoping that safety permitting , we might be able to bring some boxing fans in , but we will have to see , ” Joshua added .
“ I respect every opponent and I respect Pulev . I wish him well during his preparation. ”