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Joshua bout postponed as Yarde's granny dies

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FIGHT OFF: Anthony Joshua. Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire.

FIGHT OFF: Anthony Joshua. Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire.

PA

FIGHT OFF: Anthony Joshua. Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire.

The world heavyweight title fight between Briton Anthony Joshua and the IBF's mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev of Bulgaria originally scheduled for June 20 has been postponed, promoters Matchroom Boxing said yesterday.

Joshua's defence of his IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO titles was set to take place at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium but the coronavirus outbreak has brought global sport to a standstill, with no competition taking place in the United Kingdom.

"A new date for the event... is currently being worked on," Matchroom Boxing said in a statement. "We will announce any updates in due course and continue to explore the possibility of hosting this fight at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium."

Pulev said last month the fight would take place "towards the end of the year" due to the outbreak and that he would have no problem fighting without spectators in attendance.

It marks the second time their bout has not gone ahead as planned. Joshua was initially due to fight Pulev at Cardiff's Principality Stadium in October 2017 but the Bulgarian withdrew after suffering a shoulder injury in sparring.

Pulev had previously challenged for the IBF world heavyweight title in 2014 but lost to Wladimir Klitschko in Hamburg when he was knocked out in the fifth round.

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

British light-heavyweight Anthony Yarde has announced his grandmother has died from the coronavirus just a few days after his father's death as a result of the pandemic.

The 28-year-old fighter appealed to people to "just stay home" as he said his grandmother had died on Thursday.

"It's serious!" Yarde wrote on social media. "People are still going out when they don't need to. I know there's a lot of opinions about Covid-19 and I have mine but I just know opinions ain't worth risking your life and others. Just stay home."

Yarde's father, who the boxer said had been "fit with no health issues", died last Friday.

Yarde's promoter Frank Warren wrote on Twitter: "We are extremely sad to learn that Anthony Yarde has now lost his Nan to the Coronavirus.

"We can't begin to imagine what Anthony and his family are going through and our sincere condolences go out to them.

"Please listen to his heartfelt personal plea, stay at home to save lives."