A Tyson Fury vs Anthony Joshua superfight appears to be closer than ever, and the odds for the massive showdown are a fascinating sub-plot.
Joshua crushed Pulev inside nine rounds at London’s SSE Arena, Wembley last December. AJ (now 24-1 with 22 wins inside distance) produced a dominant performance and put the Bulgarian on the floor three times as well as forcing him to take a standing count.
The coup de grace came late in Round 9 with a peach of a right hand which closed the show in some style. It was Joshua’s first bout since his defeat of Andy Ruiz Jr in their rematch just a year ago. And there were few signs of ring rust from the IBF, WBA and WBO world heavyweight king.
Now all roads appear to lead to a blockbusting showdown with Fury, still unbeaten with a record of 30-0-1, this summer. The event will be a betting bonanza as well as the biggest fight in British boxing history.
Currently the smart money is on the bout taking place in late May or early June, but not in the UK. The countries currently in the running to stage it are Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Dubai, China, Singapore and the United States.
Fury and Joshua have agreed the financial structure for what will be a two-fight deal. They will share revenues 50-50 for the first fight with the winner taking a 60-40 upside for the immediate rematch.
Latest odds: Fury still favourite
Fury remains an odds-on favourite to defeat Joshua when they finally meet inside the ring. But AJ has shortened slightly with some firms following that December demolition of Pulev.
Fury had been a general 1/2 chance before Joshua vs Pulev – now he ranges anywhere between 4/7 and 4/9 in the latest markets.
Joshua meanwhile was shaved to 11/8 from 6/4 in some markets, but is available at 7/4 in a place.
The draw, not such an outlandish prospect considering it happened when Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield met for all the marbles in 1999, is anywhere between 16/1 and 25/1.
The American odds in the United States again have Fury as the favourite – from a best-priced -188 (win $100 for every $188 you get) to a shortest -250 (win $100 for every $250 you bet).
Joshua meanwhile is as short as +135 in places (win $135 for every $100 placed) to as big as +175 in a place (win $175 for every $100 bet).