‘Enough is enough’: Why Pulev won’t step aside

Kubrat Pulev says there is no way he would accept step-aside money to forego his right to a heavyweight title challenge against Britain’s Anthony Joshua.

The 39-year-old Bulgarian is the mandatory challenger for Joshua’s IBF, WBA and WBO titles, and the pair had been due to meet at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on June 20. That date though was cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

That led to speculation Pulev may be persuaded to step aside and allow Joshua instead to move straight on to a blockbusting all-British unification fight against Tyson Fury.

Pulev puts step aside talk to bed

But the Bulgarian told Bad Left Hook: “I wouldn’t accept it. I did it once when I didn’t have to do it for him to have his second match against Ruiz Jr. Everything was against IBF’s rules, but I compromised. Enough is enough! I can’t understand why we are still postponing instead of fixing a date and venue and getting to work? I can’t wait to win this fight. So many MMA fixtures are being held, there are boxing fixtures planned for June and July. What’s stopping us? Don’t be scared champ, let’s go! What’s wrong!”

Pulev again re-iterated a message he’s given out before, that he believes AJ is actually scared to finally meet him.

“There are two options, you either fight or vacate the title. I realise that he is really scared of me. It seems like he is scared, and that’s why he’s trying to postpone or cancel the match,” he said.

“We have done everything on our part. We agreed to all the conditions that Joshua’s team asked for, and now it’s up to them.

“I’m ready to face Joshua; it doesn’t matter where. I’m waiting for Eddie Hearn to finally make a decision where the fight is going to be and get started.”

There have been a number of potential venues mentioned for the fight – including Saudi Arabia and a Roman amphitheatre in Pula, Croatia. Pulev though doesn’t care – he just wants to fight. With a crowd or without.

“I can’t wait for the match to start. I believe that it’s possible to have a fight without people in the stands. It will even be fiercer. And much more interesting for the TV audience. I’m playing this fight to win it.”