Roman Amphitheatre touted for Joshua fight

Anthony Joshua beat Andy Ruiz Jr. to regain three heavyweight belts in Saudi Arabia in December

Mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev's IBF heavyweight title fight against Anthony Joshua could take place in front of a crowd at a Roman Amphitheatre in Croatia.

The 38-year-old Bulgarian, a former European amateur super-heavyweight champion, was due to meet Joshua at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on June 20 but the fight was put on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last week the British Boxing Board of Control said it hoped professional boxing could resume in July without spectators but promoter Eddie Hearn said Joshua would fight behind closed doors only as a "last resort".

"We have given ourselves (the two camps) four weeks to look for a new territory if the situation and measures in England do not change," Pulev's manager Ivaylo Gotsev told local media after discussing the matter with Joshua's camp.

"We are discussing Croatia, there is a unique Roman stadium - Pula Arena, there and we are in active talks," he said, adding that the fight would most probably take place in August or September.

The Roman Amphitheatre in the northern Adriatic city of Pula is well-known for hosting concerts of top class artists such as Luciano Pavarotti, Sting and Elton John. Two ice hockey games were played there in 2012.

"We like this option because it is in Europe, in the middle of the continent," Gotsev said.

"There will also be an opportunity for spectators with the right measures taken.

"There needs to be a mutual agreement. We want the terms and conditions to be beneficial for both parties."

The 30-year-old Briton reclaimed the WBA, WBO and IBF belts with a unanimous points win over Mexican-American Andy Ruiz Jr in Saudi Arabia in December.

Joshua was initially due to fight Pulev at Cardiff's Principality Stadium in October 2017 but the Bulgarian, known as "The Cobra", withdrew after suffering a shoulder injury in sparring.

Pulev challenged for the IBF world heavyweight title in 2014, losing to Wladimir Klitschko in Hamburg on a fifth-round knockout.