Anthony Joshua’s world heavyweight title defence against Kubrat Pulev could move venues as hopes of a crowd being allowed to attend begin to recede.

Joshua is due to defend his WBA, WBO, IBO and IBF heavyweight titles against the Bulgarian at the O2 Arena, London, on December 12, but with England in lockdown until December 2, the chances of any fans being allowed to get in seems minimal.

Eddie Hearn had hoped for a crowd of around 4,700 would be permitted to watch the fight at the 20,000-capacity venue.

If no crowd is allowed, the venue could change to the SSE Arena, at Wembley, where Matchroom stage the second show of their residency behind-closed-doors on Saturday, when Katie Taylor faces Miriam Gutierrez. Two more shows are planned at Wembley on November 21 and December 4.

“We haven’t given up on the O2, but if we can’t get any fans in, [then] the set-up is already in place at Wembley,” Hearn said. “We had hoped to get 3-4,000 at the O2 and the fight is one we have put forward to the Government to say ‘what an event to start letting fans back’. But I can’t see it being top of their agenda right now.

“But we would only now be talking about 1,000 fans. Right now I would take 400.”

Ron Lewis is a senior writer for Boxing Scene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.