Anthony Joshua’s upcoming world title defence against Kubrat Pulev is “a dangerous fight” and a huge hurdle on the road to a potential showdown with Tyson Fury.
That is the view of Peter Fury, who trained his nephew Tyson (30-0-1) to that epic victory over Wladimir Klitschko back in 2015, and who also trained his son and Tyson’s cousin Hughie for a unanimous decision defeat at the hands of the now 39-year-old Bulgarian Pulev in Sofa in 2018.
Pulev (28-1) is now the mandatory contender for Joshua’s International Boxing Federation (IBF) belt and his only professional defeat so far came at the hands of Wladimir Klitschko in a world title challenge back in 2014. Despite the odds (Joshua is a 1/10 favourite with Pulev an 11/2 underdog), Peter Fury says this will be no easy night for AJ.
He told Sky Sports: “It’s not a pushover fight this, it’s a serious fight. When people are famous in boxing everyone expects them to win, but it’s not the case in this fight. This fight is a dangerous fight for him. If he doesn’t keep 100 per cent focused, this fight can slip from him again.”
Joshua won widespread acclaim for adapting his style to gain revenge on Andy Ruiz Jr in their rematch in Saudi Arabia in December 2019, boxing from the outside to claim a comfortable points victory. But Peter Fury doesn’t believe a repeat of that game plan would be wise against Pulev.
“He’s an overwhelming kind of guy (Pulev). If he gets going, gets in a routine, then he can grind you down,” he said.
“It’s definitely not a fight for AJ to go on his back foot, because that will definitely suit Pulev down to a tee. It’s not easy to outbox Pulev.”
While the odds might suggest Pulev is no great danger to Joshua, Peter believes he will be well prepared and demand that the Watford man takes the initiative. If not, there is a real possibility that the Fury vs Joshua bandwagon could go off the rails.
“Pulev is very cagey and he’ll come in top condition as well, and he’s really up for this fight, He’s got a very good jab. He’s a very underestimated boxer is Pulev. He’s very awkward.
“You’ve got to break him down and AJ will have to take chances in this fight, because he’s not going to just simply be able to land that double jab and right hand on Pulev, no matter how sharp he is.
“AJ has got to take it to him and be explosive, but be clever with it. You have to fancy the younger man, but like I said, you can’t put anything past Pulev, because he’s a very cute, professional fighter.”
As yet there is no rescheduled date for Joshua vs Pulev – the pair had been due to meet on June 20 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium but that date was scuppered by the global COVID-19 pandemic.
AJ’s promoter Eddie Hearn said this week he believes the fight will take place at London’s O2 Arena in November or early December.