By Scott Gilfoid, first uploaded on Boxing News 24.
IBF mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev (25-1, 13 KOs) says he’s going to knockout IBF/WBA heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (19-0, 19 KOs) in their fight next month on October 28 at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.
This is the first of 3 very difficult fights that the 27-year-old Joshua will be facing for him to keep his 2 world titles and to capture additional heavyweight straps. The idea is for Joshua to fight Pulev, Luis “King Kong” Ortiz and then WBC heavyweight champion Deontay “Bronze Bomber” Wilder. If Joshua is still a world champion at that point, then he’ll likely face the winner of the Joseph Parker vs. Hughie Fury fight for the WBO heavyweight title. That would be the last world title not in Joshua’s collection.
If the Joshua-Pulev fight had taken place before Joshua’s recent performance against Wladimir Klitschko, the boxing world would likely pick him to destroy Pulev by a slam dunk victory, but not now. Wladimir looked vulnerable against Wladimir in getting knocked down, hurt and exposed by him. I wouldn’t say Joshua vs. Pulev is a 50-50 fight, but I do see Pulev as a live dog in this fight. He has a real chance of beating Joshua, who is still little more than a raw amateur in terms of his boxing skills.
Pulev, 36, say Joshua’s fight against Wladimir Klitschko on April 29, and he saw it as a fight that both guys had equal chances to win during the match.
”He won a good fight against Wladimir,” said Pulev to IFL TV. “However, they boh had equal chances. If it was me and I was in Klitschko’s shoes, I would have taken the challenge,” said Pulev about the rematch with Joshua that Wladimir elected not to take. “However, I wasn’t surprised, because I know the way he thinks, Klitschko, and he wasn’t geared up. Psychologically he wasn’t ready.”
Wladimir decided to retire rather than fight Joshua again. Wladimir was already incredibly wealthy, and he didn’t have the same hunger at 41 that another fight that hasn’t made big money would normally have. Besides that, Wladimir had fought only once in the past 2 years of his career, and he didn’t seem to have the same kind of motivation that a younger fighter would have. Pulev likely hasn’t made the huge money that Wladimir has, so his situation is different.
”I believe it. I believe I win,” said Pulev in initially saying he’ll knockout Joshua. “I don’t know how, but I believe I win.”
I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Pulev wins this fight. Joshua is very, very vulnerable, as we saw in his fights with Dillian Whyte and Klitschko. All it takes is one big right hand from Pulev against a tired out Joshua, and we’ll have a new IBF, WBA heavyweight champion. When Joshua gets tired, he’s like an old man. Joshua fights a guy in his 40s when he gets gassed out. It’s the strangest thing. All those muscles turn Joshua into an old man when he’s forced to fight hard for 1 round. I hope that Joshua has taken off 10 to 15 lbs. of the muscle weight, because he doesn’t fight well at 250 unless he’s facing dreadful opposition. Joshua can’t move around the ring, throw long punches, or throw long jabs. Everything is short to medium range with Joshua, which isn’t surprising because he’s got a body builder’s physique. You take a body builder from a gym and throw him in the ring, you’ll notice that they don’t have the flexibility in many cases to throw long jabs and power punches. You’ll also likely notice that they get tired very quickly after throwing shots. With his needless weightlifting, Joshua has basically turned his physique into a bodybuilding physique.
“I just want his soul,” said Joshua to Sky Sports News in making a dramatic statement about Pulev.
After his shaky performance against Klitschko, Joshua should tone it down with his drama-filled statements. With the way Joshua fought against Wladimir, he’s not in the position to brag or try and sound intimidating. We just saw a vulnerable heavyweight in the ring with Wladimir, who out-boxed Joshua for most of the fight, making him look clumsy and unskilled. Joshua reminded me a poor version of Mike “Hercules” Weaver, but with far worse stamina. Weaver was capable of fighting hard for an entire fight without gassing out. I wish I could say the same thing about Joshua.
Pulev’s promoter Kalle Sauerland believes his fighter has the talent to send Joshua down to his first defeat of his 4-year pro career when the two giant heavyweights face each other on October 28.
“Look at the people he has defeated – [Alexander] Dimitrenko, Tony Thompson, [Alexander] Ustinov, all guys who are at the peak of their careers when he fought them,” Sauerland said to skysports.com. ”Anthony Joshua, great champion, but as he says himself learning on the job. You don’t want to face a guy like Kubrat Pulev at that time.”
So, there it is. Joshua has his work cut out for him against the giant destroyer Pulev. The Bulgarian specializes in cutting giants like Joshua down to size and turning them into much smaller men for him to slice up with his devastating jab.
The 6’4 ½” Pulev has beaten tall guys in 6’7” Dimitrenko and 6’5” Thompson in the past. Pulev was able to dominate those guys with his jab and right hands. It’ll be interesting to see if Pulev can use his superior jab to get the better of the 6’5” Joshua, who is basically the same size as him, but he’s not nearly as skilled in terms of his boxing ability and he doesn’t have the great outside game that he has. Pulev likely learned his lesson against Wladimir that it doesn’t pay off for him to go forward to punch with a guy with major power. The reason Pulev had to come forward against Wladimir was due to the hard jabs that the Ukrainian fighter was hitting him with when they were fighting from the outside. Wladimir’s jab was even better than his. Pulev didn’t want to stay on the outside and deal with that jab, so he went after Wladimir. Pulev caught Wladimir with a good right hand at one point that seemed to slightly stun him. However, Wladimir then dropped Pulev with a big left hook to the head. and the fight quickly turned into a rout.