Anthony Joshua’s scheduled fight against Kubrat Pulev at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in June has been postponed due to COVID-19, while golf’s Open Championship has today (Monday) become the latest major event to be cancelled because of the pandemic.
Joshua had been due to defend his IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO heavyweight world titles against Pulev on June 20 in what would have marked the first major boxing event at Tottenham’s 60,000-seat stadium.
Promoter Matchroom Boxing said in a statement that a new date for the event is being worked on, with any updates to be announced in due course. Matchroom said it would continue to explore the possibility of hosting the fight at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as originally planned.
Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was confirmed as the host venue for the fight last month. Following the postponement, Pulev has pledged half of his purse from the fight towards the battle to combat COVID-19. The BBC reports that this amounts to an estimated £2m (€2.3m/$2.5m).
Meanwhile, the R&A, which organises golf’s Open Championship, has today announced that this summer’s event, which had been scheduled for July 12-19, will now take place at Royal St George’s in Kent next summer. The decision has been taken following guidance from the UK government, the health authorities, public services and the R&A’s advisers.
It marks the first time since the Second World War that The Open has been cancelled. The event will now take place at Royal St George’s from July 11-18, 2021, with the 150th Open to be held at St Andrews from July 10-17, 2022.
All purchased tickets and hospitality packages for this year’s event will be transferred over to the 2021 edition, with fans who no longer wish to or are unable to attend entitled to a full refund.
R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers said: “Our absolute priority is to protect the health and safety of the fans, players, officials, volunteers and staff involved in The Open. We care deeply about this historic Championship and have made this decision with a heavy heart. We appreciate that this will be disappointing for a great many people around the world but we have to act responsibly during this pandemic and it is the right thing to do.
“I can assure everyone that we have explored every option for playing The Open this year but it is not going to be possible.”
Following the cancellation of this year’s Open Championship, the R&A, PGA Tour, European Tour, LPGA, PGA of America, Augusta National and USGA released a joint statement providing an update to the global golf schedule for the remainder of the year.
The three remaining major championships have been rescheduled for later dates, with the US Open now set to take place from September 14-20, the PGA Championship planned for August 3-9 and The Masters having identified November 9-15 as its intended dates. The Ryder Cup is still scheduled to go ahead as planned from September 22-27.
The PGA Tour is also working with host organisations and title sponsors to move its regular season finale and its three FedExCup playoffs to one week later, starting August 10.
Image: Matchroom Boxing