Kubrat Pulev feels he's got the talent to beat both Tomasz Adamek and Wladimir Klitschko in upcoming bouts. Can the European champ rise to that next level and beyond?
Bulgarian heavyweight Kubrat Pulev believes he's got the tools to beat Tomasz Adamek and then Wladimir Klitschko, which is his career path at the moment. Pulev and Adamek will meet in an IBF eliminator next, though a date for that fight has yet to be determined. The winner would receive an eventual shot at Klitschko.
Pulev (17-0, 9 KO) won the European title last year by stopping Alexander Dimitrenko, and then defended it by knocking out undefeated Alexander Ustinov. Though Dimitrenko and Ustinov are both huge men, they're also a far cry from the skill level of Klitschko. Still, Pulev has at least shown that he can combat larger foes.
As for the smaller Adamek, Pulev says he won't look past him:
"There's absolutely no chance I’ll underrate him. Adamek is a small heavyweight, I guess he weighs no more than 100 kilos [220 pounds], but he is technically gifted and he’s a good counterpuncher. However, I’m a lot bigger, powerful and very fast and I think I’ll beat him. I still don’t know when this fight take place, but I have been training very hard and I'm already in great shape. I'll be well-prepared," Pulev said to Bulgarian media.
Adamek struggled last time out with Steve Cunningham, a fight that most observers felt Cunningham deserved to win. There seems to be a strong belief that Pulev should be considered the favorite against the Polish veteran, who appears to be declining a bit at age 36.
As for Klitschko, he's set to return on April 6 against an opponent to be named, and then he's likely going to deal with his WBA mandatory, Alexander Povetkin, before he ever gets to the Pulev-Adamek winner.
Can Pulev do this? He's 6'4", a southpaw, he can box, he has enough power that it matters -- he's a good fighter, overall. But can he beat Adamek and Klitschko and get to the elite ranks of the division?