Joshua vs. Pulev Preview
By Robert Ecksel on March 3, 2020
“He's been in the game for a while. He went to the top level and then he got defeated.”
On Saturday, June 20, at the new 70,000-seat Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, England, Anthony Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs), the WBA/IBF/WBO heavyweight champion from Watford, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom, will defend his titles against Kubrat Pulev (28-1, 14 KOs), his IBF mandatory from Sofia, Bulgaria, in a bout televised live on Sky Sports in the UK.
With Joshua having responded to his single loss by outfoxing, with his newfound boxing skills, his former conqueror Andy Ruiz Jr. AJ intends to start eliminating his mandatories, starting with Kubrat Pulev.
“On June 20, I am defending my heavyweight world titles,” said Joshua. “I'm back in my home city after some time away. 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.”
Fighting at home will be a pleasant change. Fans in the UK adore him. Pulev is rugged and always comes to fight, and while he’s eight years older than Joshua at 38, he has been fighting professionally for little more than a decade and has never suffered a serious beating, but still carries a single loss on his record.
“He's been in the game for a while,” Joshua said. “He went to the top level and then he got defeated.”
That defeat was to Wladimir Klitschko by knockout in 2014. The men he has beaten were not at the level, but few fighters ever are.
“He (Pulev) knows his way around the ring. He's had his chance at the top level and now he's coming back again, so he's probably going to try and get it right.
“I'll be expecting a more polished, smarter Pulev, and he can bang a bit as well. He's had a few knockouts on his record as well, he can bang and he can box so he's a boxer-puncher.
“It's kind of like what my style is as well so it will be a good match up for sure. We're going to box, people are going to see some skills, and they're probably going to see a knockout as well because you've got two boxer-punchers,” added Joshua, before predicting an 11th round knockout.
Pulev is a top-10 fighter, but falls short of being elite. A victory over Joshua, who we know can be beaten, would alter that perception dramatically.
“I am happy to have the opportunity to show the world how strong I really am,” countered Pulev. “Becoming a heavyweight world champion has always been my mission in life and on June 20, 2020, I will fulfill my destiny!”