Anthony Joshua’s trainer Robert McCracken admits that is seems unlikely at the moment that the WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight champion will be in action this summer as the coronavirus pandemic grounding the country to a standstill.
Joshua is due to defend his titles against Kubrat Pulev at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in North London on June 20. With tickets not even having gone on sale, such a date seems unlikely now with a back-up date of July 25 being planned for.
But with the UK midway through a three-week order to stay at home – an order that is widely expected to be extended – and Joshua’s training base in Sheffield closed, no real planning has been done for Joshua’s training camp, although McCracken has kept in regular contact with him.
“I spoke to him this week,” McCracken said. “He is staying at home and trying to do some keep fit in his house. A bit of stretching, a bit of circuits and a bit of shadowboxing. He is in the same boat as anybody. The world is on pause.
“My guess and it is only a guess, is that it will be at least another month before the lockdown ends.”
All of Matchroom’s May dates have now been postponed, including two heavyweight pay-per-view-events. Dillian Whyte v Alexander Povetkin in Manchester has been moved from May 2 until July 4, while Dereck Chisora v Oleksandr Usyk at the O2 Arena, London, is still waiting for a date after the May 23 date was scrapped.
A big outdoors fight takes a lot more planning, with 60,000 tickets also needing to be sold in what will be economically challenged times.
“It’s probably unlikely I would have thought,” McCracken said. “The way this is you have to get the world back going again.”
If restrictions are lifted in the next four weeks, though, Joshua would go straight into camp for a July 25, although it has proved impossible so far to plan for anything like booking sparring partners.
“You can’t,” McCracken said, “With the coronavirus, you have to plan to get people in and maybe people will be going into quarantine, so you can’t do anything.”