Kubrat Pulev is standing firm on his right to fight Anthony Joshua for the world heavyweight title.
The Bulgarian – who turns 39 today (May 4) – is the mandatory challenger for Joshua’s IBF, WBA and WBO belts, and had been due to face the Briton at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on June 20.
But the fight has been postponed due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, and now a frenzy of media reports are suggesting Pulev might be persuaded to step aside to allow Joshua instead to fight British rival Tyson Fury an a blockbusting showdown to unify all of the titles.
Pulev though has other ideas, saying he has a contract and that’s the end of it. He told BoxingScene: “We have signed contracts for that fight and everything is ready. We worked on this contract for maybe two months and it was not so easy. But now we have this contract and I am ready. I don’t want to wait.
“I want the title fight with Anthony Joshua and I will beat him really good and get the second knockout against him. I am the mandatory challenger and these are the rules. It doesn’t matter who wants to box him or who he wants to box. Anthony Joshua has to box me.”
Pulev’s co-promoter Ivaylo Gotzev re-iterated his fighter’s stance, and made it clear that is not the only thing potentially standing in the way of a Fury vs Joshua fight before the end of this year.
He said: “The fact is we have a signed and sealed contract with Joshua, so there are no arguments there. There are two separate signed contracts between four fighters – a signed contract for Fury and Wilder to have a third fight and Wilder has executed his rights. That’s a known fact.
“And there is also the contract we have for Anthony Joshua to fight Kubrat Pulev. We’ve waited for this fight for a long time. We’re not going away. We must fight Joshua next, per our signed agreement.
“There hasn’t been a single word about a step-aside deal. We haven’t been approached about one. We are all interested in rescheduling Joshua-Pulev as soon as possible.”