Unified heavyweight world titleholder Anthony Joshua will, as expected, make his next defense against mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev on Oct. 28 at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.
Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn, Joshua's promoter, said Monday that the announcement of Joshua's next fight would come on Tuesday, but Pulev beat him to the punch, announcing the fight on social media.
"Anthony is a formidable opponent," Pulev said in translated comments. "We will not hug and hold. We will not run. We will stand and fight. His style fits mine perfectly, and in boxing, styles make fights. My preparation will be very intense, and I will be perfectly ready when I enter the ring so that he will have no chance to beat me."
On Tuesday, Hearn did indeed make the fight official.
"I'm delighted that we will be in Cardiff at the magnificent Principality Stadium for the next step of the AJ journey," Hearn said. "Nearly 80,000 will gather on Oct. 28 to create another unforgettable night of boxing. Anthony will meet his mandatory challenger, [IBF] No. 1-ranked Kubrat Pulev, and the card will be stacked with world championship action, domestic title fights and the very best young stars in the game. Get ready for the next episode from the biggest star in world boxing."
England's Joshua (19-0, 19 KOs), 27, will be making his fourth title defense and fighting for the first time since his epic battle against former longtime world champion Wladimir Klitschko before 90,000 at Wembley Stadium in London on April 29.
Joshua, the 2012 Olympic super heavyweight gold medalist, dropped Klitschko three times -- once in the fifth round and twice in the 11th round -- but hit the deck once himself in the sixth round of their all-time classic heavyweight championship fight before he stopped Klitschko in the 11th round and sent the former champion into retirement.
Klitschko had the right to an immediate rematch, but when he decided to retire at age 41, it put Pulev in position to get the next shot at Joshua, who retained one title belt and won a vacant one in the April bout.
Joshua said he can't wait to get back to work against Pulev.
"Oct. 28 can't come soon enough," Joshua said. "I have been eager to get back in the ring since Wembley, and now we are confirmed and ready. I'll be locked away focusing on fight No. 20 for the next eight weeks. I am excited to experience the atmosphere in a sold-out Principality Stadium and aim to give the fans a spectacular night."
The fight will be Joshua's second in Cardiff, but when he knocked out Dorian Darch in the second round in February 2014, Joshua -- in just his fourth professional bout -- was boxing at the much smaller Motorpoint Arena on an undercard.
Pulev (25-1, 13 KOs), 36, of Bulgaria, suffered his only defeat when Klitschko scored a crushing fifth-round knockout against him in a November 2014 world championship fight in what was that year's knockout of the year. Pulev, who will be fighting in the United Kingdom for the first time, has won five fights in a row since, including a decision against British contender Dereck Chisora and a third-round destruction of faded former world titleholder Samuel Peter.
"Anthony is a great champion, and his last fight ignited the division," said Kalle Sauerland, Pulev's promoter. "However, by his own admission, he is still learning, and Pulev is not the sort of opponent you want to learn against. Kubrat and his trainer Ulli Wegner -- Europe's most successful professional coach -- have studied every weakness for the Cobra to strike victoriously."
Hearn had talked to representatives of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas about the possibility of putting on the fight at the T-Mobile Arena but ultimately decided to go to the 75,000-seat Principality Stadium (formerly Millennium Stadium). It has a retractable roof, making it ideal for the likely chilly fall conditions. Wembley Stadium, although larger, is an open-air facility.
"Our national stadium is a true heavyweight when it comes to bringing major events to Cardiff, and today's announcement strengthens our status as a year-round, multi-events arena, in the heart of a city center renowned for delivering a Welsh welcome to visitors from around the world," said Principality Stadium general manager Mark Williams. "The Joshua-Pulev fight is guaranteed to be another spectacle."
The stadium has hosted boxing in the past, with the most significant fight being the three-belt super middleweight world title unification bout between Welsh great Joe Calzaghe (the International Boxing Hall of Famer) and Mikkel Kessler, of Denmark, who fought before some 50,000 in November 2007.
While the fight will headline a Sky Box Office pay-per-view telecast in the United Kingdom, plans for American television coverage were not announced, but Joshua has been tied to Showtime, which has televised all of his world title bouts and the network is making plans to also cover the fight against Pulev.
"While a few details and logistics are still being sorted out, we expect to carry that fight live on Showtime," Showtime spokesman Chris DeBlasio told ESPN.
Showtime has a contractual option on Joshua's next fight, giving the network the right of first negotiation and last look, meaning once Showtime puts in an offer for the fight Hearn can shop it around to other networks, including HBO. If another network beats Showtime's offer, Showtime has the right to match in order to secure the rights.