Promoter: Anthony Joshua, Kubrat Pulev fight down to 'silly things'

FRISCO, Texas -- Finalizing the deal for a fight between unified heavyweight world titlist Anthony Joshua and mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev this summer is down to the sides agreeing on "silly things," Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn told ESPN.

Hearn, Joshua's promoter, and Pulev co-promoters Top Rank and Epic Sports face an IBF purse bid scheduled for Tuesday afternoon. They have already received two extensions as they wind toward a deal, but now the sanctioning body expects a signed contract.

Assuming the deal is signed, Hearn said the fight will take place June 20 at London's Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, which opened in 2019 and seats more than 60,000.

"The terms are agreed and we're papering the deal as we talk," Hearn told ESPN in Frisco, where he is promoting the Mikey Garcia-Jessie Vargas welterweight fight on Saturday night.

Hearn said the delay in getting the Joshua-Pulev deal signed was because Top Rank was very busy with last week's Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury heavyweight championship rematch and could not address Joshua-Pulev.

Hearn said the deal for Joshua-Pulev calls for a 65-35 split in Joshua's favor, which is the same percentage split they would receive in a purse bid, but they are still dealing with a few other things.

"It's just been stuff like tickets, officials -- because we've got to make sure they want neutral officials and we'd have to speak to the [British Board of Boxing Control] about that, and it could take two or three days," Hearn said. "But everything has been really smooth. It's really, really minor details. We're re-drafting and re-drafting and re-drafting [the contract], and every time there's a re-draft two of the problems disappear. So it's travel, officials, press conferences, [does Top Rank] get a slot on the undercard. It's so minor now, it's just making sure there are no arguments when we get it done."

Although it is a mandatory fight, Hearn said there is "likely to be a rematch clause because it's just how it is with AJ fights. It's the same conversation I had with [Top Rank chairman Bob] Arum when we did [Vasiliy] Lomachenko-Luke Campbell and Lomachenko-Anthony Crolla [last year]. They were both mandatories but both had rematch clauses. If [Pulev] said no rematch clause then we wouldn't take the fight and they'd lose the biggest payday of their career. They'd fight Charles Martin for [a vacant title] for $500,000. So the fight is nearly done. I just saw another draft. The discussion points are down to silly things."

Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs), 30, of England, lost his three major world title belts by shocking seventh-round upset knockout to Andy Ruiz Jr. on June 1 in New York in his U.S. debut. But Joshua regained them on Dec. 7 with a one-sided decision victory in a rematch with Ruiz in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia. Soon after the rematch, Joshua was ordered to make his mandatory defenses.

Pulev (28-1, 14 KOs), 38, of Bulgaria, has won eight fights in a row since challenging then-unified heavyweight world champion Wladimir Klitschko in November 2014 and getting knocked out in the fifth round.

Joshua also has been ordered to make a mandatory defense of his WBO belt against Ukraine's undefeated former undisputed cruiserweight world champion Oleksandr Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs), 33, who is co-promoted by Hearn, but the IBF mandatory is up first.

With Usyk's title shot coming no earlier than the fall, Hearn said Usyk will face former world title challenger Dereck Chisora (32-9, 23 KOs), 36, of England, in a fight he is planning for May 23 at the O2 Arena in London.