The 39-year-old Bulgarian (28-1) is the mandatory challenger for Joshua’s IBF, WBA and world heavyweight titles and is due to face the Londoner once the COVID-19 pandemic eases enough for huge fights to resume.
Pulev has already refused to even consider step-aside money to allow Fury vs Joshua to happen sooner rather than later, and now his manager Ivaylo Gotzev says he’s planning to scupper it completely.
He told Sky Sports: “We’ve got a little history going here, with Kubrat and British heavyweights. He’s knocked off quite a few. He shut up Derek Chisora (split decision in 2016), because he had a big mouth. That was great, then beating another Fury (Hughie by UD in 2018), the little cousin was also a pretty good feat. That was the fight that qualified him to be the No 1 contender to Joshua, another British champion, so there is a little connection there.
“Kubrat versus UK, I like that. A little name for himself there, so yeah, let’s deal with Joshua first. Let the best man win, and then we’ll look at options with Tyson Fury.”
Gotzev says Pulev is under no illusions about the size of the task facing him, and it’s clear the camp has huge respect for lineal champion Fury – if they can get past Joshua first.
“Either way, all roads lead to Fury. I can say that, because I think he’s shown to be one of the supreme guys out there, if not the supreme guy. He is the man. It would be delightful to face the UK champions, one after another, wouldn’t it.”
Pulev suffered his only professional defeat so far while challenging Wladimir Klitschko for his belts back in 2014, and is leaving no stone unturned in his bid to claim world title glory this time round.
Gotzev explained: “His mindset is – we’re going to war. Going to war, it’s a lot of preparation, we know what’s at stake. This is his chance to rise to the top and become the first and only heavyweight champion from our country, and that part of the world. It’s a very exciting time for him and he’s doing everything he has to do to get himself ready for this fight.
“It’s going to be a formidable fight. They’re the same height, same physical strength and let’s see who is the better boxer now, and a better fighter of this era. Kubrat will present a great challenge for Joshua, that’s all I can say.”