Kubrat Pulev has vowed to do exactly what Andy Ruiz Jr did to Anthony Joshua when he challenges for AJ’s world heavyweight titles later this year.
The 39-year-old Bulgarian (28-1) had been scheduled to fight the Watford behemoth for the IBF, WBA and WBO belts at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on June 20, but that date was cancelled due to COVID-19. It is now hoped the bout will finally go ahead in December at London’s O2 Arena.
Joshua suffered the only defeat of his professional career so far when losing by seventh-round TKO to Ruiz Jr at Madison Square Garden in June 2019. He duly avenged that with a wide-margin points victory in the rematch in Saudi Arabia in December.
But the memory of that night in Manhattan is one which Pulev has squarely in focus as he looks ahead to his own date with heavyweight destiny.
He told the Betway Insider: “He is a very good boxer for sure, a world champion, and he has had a lot of good fights. But I see a lot of problems in his style and his boxing and I think I can use every small opening and I can beat him. I do think he has a problem with psychology.
“I think the fight has the same ending as with Andy Ruiz. I know that I will surprise the whole world with this fight. I will show boxing fans across the world that Joshua will go down because we will be bringing war.”
All the talk in the UK for the last two months has been not of Joshua vs Pulev or Fury vs Wilder 3 even – but of a Fury vs Joshua unification showdown. Something which angers Pulev.
“This is also very arrogant. Talking about Fury because he doesn’t think about my fight, like last time with Ruiz,” he said.
“But life showed him that this is very bad when someone does that. That’s why he will take his second knockout of his life,”
Next Saturday (August 22) there is another huge heavyweight showdown as Dillian Whyte (27-1) puts his WBC mandatory contender status on the line against dangerous former WBA heavyweight king Alexander Povetkin (live on Sky Sports Box Office pay-per-view and DAZN). Pulev thinks it is a fascinating matchup.
He said: “Povektin was a very good amateur. We know professional boxing is different and we know Whyte is a 100 percent professional boxer. I’m 50-50 but I hope Povetkin wins because I know him personally and he’s a really good man who does not talk too much.
“On the other hand, Dillian Whyte talks so much bullshit. He is always twisting things up and talking bullshit; talking, talking, talking too much. I don’t like this.
“I want to fight Whyte after I beat AJ, I want to fight with Dillian Whyte and I want to show him a very special KO. I promise him that.”
Pulev has challenged for a world title once in the past – being knocked out in the fifth round by Wladimir Klitschko back in 2014.