After what has been a difficult year for the boxing world, 2020 is set to end with an epic heavyweight fight between Anthony Joshua and Kubrat Pulev – and even better yet, a live crowd will be in attendance.
While it is undeniably good news, with just 1,000 fans allowed into Wembley Arena for the blockbuster on Saturday 12 December, the situation is still a far cry from the way the bout was originally planned to play out. If it were not for the Covid-19 pandemic, 60,000 supporters would have watched AJ take on his IBF mandatory challenger in June at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Nevertheless, the 1,000 fans who will get to see the blockbuster in person will be grateful for the relaxation in Covid-19 restrictions in England that has allowed the fight to happen.
Nobody sounds more grateful than Eddie Hearn, promoter and managing director of Matchroom Sport.
Speaking about the news, Eddie could hardly hide his delight.
"I can't tell you how happy I am to see fans returning to our live boxing events.
"While the team has done an incredible job over the last ten 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. Welcome back!"
British AJ will be defending his IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO world titles against Bulgarian Pulev.
Despite the excitement going on around him, AJ insists he is focusing on the threat of an opponent who has already declared he is fighting for all Bulgarians around the world.
AJ said: “Pulev is named after a great Bulgarian warrior and he has that warrior spirit, he carries the hopes of his nation.
“He is tough, he has a great jab and he will dig deep. He has found a way to beat every opponent, except Klitschko, but I know I have prepared well and I should be victorious.”
Here is a round-up of the rest of this month’s boxing schedule.
Friday 4 December at Wembley Arena, London, UK
- Billy Joe Saunders vs Martin Murray (WBO Super-Middleweight Title)
Saturday 5 December at Royal Albert Hall, London, UK
- Anthony Yarde vs Lyndon Arthur (Commonwealth Light-Heavyweight Title)
- Willy Hutchinson vs Lennox Clarke (British and Commonwealth Super-Middleweight Titles)
Saturday 5 December at AT&T Stadium, Arlington, USA
- Errol Spence vs Danny Garcia (WBC & IBF Welterweight Titles)
Friday 11 December at Fly By Nite, Redditch, UK
- Sam Eggington vs Ashley Theophane (Super-Welterweight)
Saturday 12 December at Wembley Arena, London, UK
- Anthony Joshua vs Kubrat Pulev (WBA, IBF & WBO Heavyweight Titles)
- Lawrence Okolie vs Krzysztof Glowacki (WBO Cruiserweight Title)
- Hughie Fury vs Mariusz Wach (Heavyweight)
- Martin Bakole vs Sergey Kuzmin (Heavyweight)
Saturday 12 December at MGM Grand Ballroom, Las Vegas, USA
- Shakur Stevenson vs Toka Kahn Clary (Super-Featherweight
Saturday 12 December at Mohegan Sun, Connecticut, USA
- Chris Colbert vs Jaime Arboleda (WBA ‘Interim’ Super-Featherweight Title)
Friday 18 December at Hard Rock Hotel, Florida, USA
- Gennady Golovkin vs Kamil Szeremeta (IBF Middleweight Title)
Friday 18 December 18 at Galveston Island Convention Center, Texas, USA
- Gilberto Ramirez vs Alfonso Lopez (Light-Heavyweight)
- Michael Hunter vs Opponent TBC (Heavyweight)
Saturday 19 December at Alamodome, Texas, USA
- Canelo Alvarez vs Callum Smith (WBA Super-Middleweight Title)
- Julio Cesar Martinez vs Francisco Rodriguez Jr (WBC Flyweight Title)
Saturday 19 December, Mohegan Sun, Connecticut, USA
- Nonito Donaire vs Emmanuel Rodriguez (WBC Bantamweight Title)
- Jaron Ennis vs Thomas Dulorme (Welterweight)
Thursday 31 December at Ota City General Gymnasium, Tokyo, Japan
- Kazuto Ioka vs Kosei Tanaka (WBO Super-Flyweight Title)