By Keith Idec
Showtime announced Thursday afternoon it will televise the Anthony Joshua-Kubrat Pulev fight live October 28 from Cardiff, Wales.
The British superstar has as a multi-fight agreement with Showtime, but it allows Joshua’s promoter, Matchroom Sport’s Eddie Hearn, to shop his fights to other American television outlets, namely HBO. Joshua’s fights typically air on pay-per-view in the United Kingdom (Sky Sports Box Office).
Showtime will televise Joshua-Pulev live late in the afternoon October 28 and on delay later that night.
Showtime aired Joshua’s career-changing last fight, an incredible, 11th-round knockout of former champion Wladimir Klitschko, live on the network April 29. HBO broadcast the memorable battle on delay that night.
Both boxers were knocked down during that fight, which drew a capacity crowd of roughly 90,000 fans to London’s Wembley Stadium. More than 70,000 tickets already have been sold to the lower-profile Joshua-Pulev bout, which will take place at Principality Stadium in Cardiff.
The 6-feet-6, 250-pound Joshua (19-0, 19 KOs) had hoped to face Klitschko (64-5, 53 KOs) in a rematch November 11 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, but the 41-year-old Klitschko opted to retire. The 2012 Olympic gold medalist instead will make a mandatory defense of his IBF title against the 6-feet-4, 230-pound Pulev (25-1, 13 KOs), who has lost only to Klitschko.
A week after airing Joshua-Pulev, Showtime will televise a heavyweight showdown between WBC champion Deontay Wilder (38-0, 37 KOs) and former WBA interim champion Luis Ortiz (27-0, 23 KOs, 2 NC) from Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. If Joshua and Wilder continue to win, their handlers plan for the undefeated knockout artists to meet sometime in 2018.
“There’s so much to be excited about in the sport of boxing, and it all comes to a fever pitch on consecutive Saturdays this fall on Showtime,” said Stephen Espinoza, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Showtime Sports. “This has been a great year for boxing. More specifically, it has been a great year for Showtime boxing. There’s no better way to end it than with two major heavyweight world championship events. We are proud to be in business with the two biggest punchers in the sport, Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder, and the rest of the talented and hungry heavyweight challengers of today.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.