World heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua knocked out Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev near the end of the ninth round to retain his IBF, WBO and WBA belts at Wembley Arena.

World Heavyweight boxing champion Britain's Anthony Joshua celebrates after beating challenger Bulgaria's Kubrat Pulev in their Heavyweight title fight at Wembley Arena in London, United Kingdom, on December 12, 2020.
World Heavyweight boxing champion Britain's Anthony Joshua celebrates after beating challenger Bulgaria's Kubrat Pulev in their Heavyweight title fight at Wembley Arena in London, United Kingdom, on December 12, 2020. (Reuters)

Anthony Joshua has retained his world heavyweight titles with a ninth-round knockout of Kubrat Pulev, potentially setting up an all-British fight against Tyson Fury to be undisputed champion of boxing's marquee division.

Joshua had already knocked down Pulev three times when he unleashed a right hook that sent the 39-year-old Bulgarian to the canvas once again.

This time, Pulev couldn't get up.

Defending titles

After months of boxing fights in empty British venues, up to 1,000 spectators, a limited number that included boxing royalty in Floyd Mayweather, were inside Wembley Arena to see Joshua make his first defence of the WBA, IBF, WBO titles since regaining them in a rematch against Andy Ruiz Jr.

Now he has done away with the durable but one-dimensional mandatory challenge of Pulev, Joshua can turn to his ultimate goal of being undisputed champion, the first in the heavyweight division since Lennox Lewis in 1999.

He has an agreement in principle with Tyson Fury, the WBC champion, for a two-fight deal in 2021 to unify all four titles in an all-British blockbuster. 

It would be one of the biggest fights in living memory, certainly the biggest in British boxing history.

READ MORE: Joshua's heavyweight title defence postponed by coronavirus

Source: TRTWorld and agencies