Tagged in: Kubrat Pulev

Anthony Joshua dispatches Kubrat Pulev via KO, sets up prospect of Tyson Fury bout

Anthony Joshua returned to ruthless form by dispatching Kubrat Pulev in nine rounds in London on Saturday to set up the prospect of facing Tyson Fury in 2021.

The WBA, IBF and WBO world heavyweight champion kept his titles by turning on the power switch to drop Pulev twice in the ninth round. It was Joshua’s first knockout victory since his previous performance on home soil, in September 2018.

Pulev crumbled to the canvas under a barrage of right uppercuts and was then finished by a straight right hand.

Floyd Mayweather Jr., the retired former pound-for-pound boxing No. 1, had made the trip from the United States to be among 1,000 present at the SSE Arena and was the first to congratulate Joshua at ringside.

Since halting Alexander Povetkin two years ago, the English boxer lost his titles via a shock knockout to American Andy Ruiz Jr. before regaining them on points a year ago.

This was a much more explosive performance from Joshua than the Ruiz rematch, as Joshua floored tough Pulev twice in Round 3 and twice in Round 9 in front of the first crowd at a professional boxing event in the U.K. since March.

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A second defense in his second reign as world heavyweight clears the way for Joshua to fight either rival world heavyweight champion Fury, his fellow Englishman, or Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk first in 2021.

Fury, regarded as the world No. 1 heavyweight by ESPN after stopping Deontay Wilder for the WBC title in February, would be the preferred choice, but because of mandatory defense obligations, former undisputed world cruiserweight champion Usyk might be the first person in the opposing corner to Joshua in 2021.

“It’s not about the opponent — it’s about who has got the belt, and if that’s Tyson Fury, let it be Tyson Fury,” Joshua said. “It’s one fight at a time, picking them off one by one.”

Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn stated he wants Fury to be Joshua’s next opponent in 2021, despite the obstacles, including legal action Wilder has brought to enforce a third fight with Fury.

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Joshua confirms June world title fight with Pulev

After a lot of back and forth, it seems that unified heavyweight titleholder Anthony Joshua has finally reached final terms with Kubrat Pulev to make his mandatory IBF title defense.

The two sides were known to have been negotiating terms for Joshua’s next outing, but last week the fighters reached an impasse over the site for the fight, with Joshua wanting to defend in the U.K. and Pulev believing he can’t get a fair shake there.

That impasse led to the IBF scheduling a purse bid for tomorrow, where the promotional rights to the fight would’ve been up for grabs. That’s not something that Hearn and Joshua were probably up for, so ultimately it seems this boiled down to money.

Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn informs ESPN that Joshua ended up taking less money than he otherwise could’ve made just to ensure the fight would be held at home on June 20, at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

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“Joshua’s probably taking a third of what he could make against Pulev to fight in the U.K next, because he wants to fight in the U.K.”

Now Joshua will put three of his major world titles on the line versus Pulev for the first time since winning them back from Andy Ruiz last December.

“I’m back in my home city after some time away,” Joshua said in announcing the fight. “A spectacular stadium has been built in North London and I’m honored to bring the boxing community from all over the world to witness us make history with the stadium’s first heavyweight world title fight. The belts go back up in the air and nothing will stop me from being victorious.”

John Wirt, president of Pulev co-promoter Epic Sports and Entertainment, added: “This fight has been a long time coming, but we finally have Joshua cornered, and on June 20, I guarantee Pulev will be victorious and Great Britain’s recently acquired chokehold on the heavyweight division championship will be brought to a quick and sudden ending.”

On Feb. 22, Tyson Fury knocked out Deontay Wilder to claim his title, giving British fighters a hold on all four major belts.

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