Anthony Joshua will defend his WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight world titles against Kubrat Pulev on December 12 at the O2 Arena in London. The O2 Arena is a multi-purpose indoor arena in the centre of The O2 entertainment complex on the Greenwich Peninsula in southeast London. It opened in its present form in 2007. It has the second-highest seating capacity of any indoor venue in the United Kingdom, behind the Manchester Arena, and in 2008 was the world’s busiest music arena.
The arena was built under the former Millennium Dome, a large dome-shaped building built to house an exhibition celebrating the turn of the third millennium; as the structure still stands over the arena, The Dome remains a name in common usage for the venue. The arena, as well as the overall O2 complex, is named after its primary sponsor, the telecommunications company O2, a subsidiary of Spain’s Telefónica.
Following the closure of the Millennium Experience at the end of 2000, the Millennium Dome was leased to Meridian Delta Ltd. in December 2001, for redevelopment as an entertainment complex. This included plans for an indoor arena. Construction of the arena started in 2003, and finished in 2007. After the interior of the dome had been largely cleared and before building work inside began, in December 2004.
Owing to the impossibility of using cranes inside the dome structure, the arena’s roof was constructed on the ground within the dome and then lifted; the arena building’s structure was then built around the roof. The arena building, which houses the arena and the arena concourse, is independent from all other buildings in the O2 and houses all the arena’s facilities. The arena building itself takes up 40% of the total dome structure.
In August of 2007 the legendary rock star Prince, began the first of 21 sellout nights at the O2 arena. A record breaking run, featuring many of his extensive hits while changing the set list every night so no two shows would be the same. On 21 July 2007, British rock band Keane played the arena as part of their Under the Iron Sea Tour, and the performance was later released as their Keane Live DVD.
Beginning in July 2009, Michael Jackson was scheduled to hold a 50-show residency at the arena, titled This Is It. However, Jackson died on 25 June, eighteen days before the first scheduled show. From 2008, the O2 Arena has hosted Capital’s Jingle Bell Ball which is an annual mini-festival held over two nights, usually in early December.
Ticket sales records
Despite being open for only 200 days per year, the venue sold over 1.2 million tickets in 2007, making it the third most popular venue in the world for concerts and family shows, narrowly behind the Manchester Arena and Madison Square Garden in New York City. As of 2020, the O2 Arena was still the busiest music arena in the world in terms of ticket sales.