Anthony Joshua is set to fight for the first time in a year as he will defend his heavyweight world titles against Kubrat Pulev.

Joshua, who last fought Andry Ruiz Jr on December 7 last year, was scheduled to take on his Bulgarian mandatory challenger on June 20 - which was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

But now it has been confirmed Joshua will take on Pulev on December 12 at London’s O2 Arena in his first home bout in more than two years, with his IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO belts on the line.

It is currently unclear whether any fans will be permitted to attend as pilot events for live sports have been postponed, but Joshua’s camp have made it clear they will make the case for a limited live crowd.

Joshua said: “The O2 is the original lion’s den, I have a lot of history with the arena, but without the fans something huge is missing.

“I am really hoping that, safety permitting, we might be able to bring some boxing fans in, but we will have to see. December 12 is the date and once again the Heavyweight belts go up in the air and it is my sole focus to make sure that come December 13 they are in their rightful place in the UK.

“I respect every opponent and I respect Pulev. I wish him well during his preparation.”

The fighters – both of whom have only lost once in their professional careers, Joshua to Ruiz Jr last year and Pulev against Wladimir Klitschko in 2014 – were first set to meet in October 2017 at the Principality Stadium.

However Pulev had to withdraw due to a shoulder injury two weeks before the fight.

Having now fought his way back into contention, Pulev said: “For a small country of Bulgaria to stand up for the heavyweight titles is a great accomplishment.

“This fight is for my late father and all Bulgarians around the world! I’m coming to London to seize the heavyweight championship of the world.”

If Joshua claims his 24th win from 25 outings in the paid ranks, he will take a step closer towards an all-British blockbuster showdown against Tyson Fury in a fight to determine the undisputed heavyweight champion.