Kubrat Pulev has had two purse bids, both won by outside promoter Epic Sports & Entertainment, and two fights have been passed on by the other side. First, it was Dillian Whyte. This week, it was Jarrell Miller.
But the Bulgarian veteran is still in line for the IBF heavyweight eliminator, and now attention turns to Hughie Fury, who is the next available contender by the sanctioning body’s rankings. Fury is ranked fifth by the IBF, behind No. 4 man Alexander Povetkin, who of course is slated to face Anthony Joshua this fall in an IBF/WBA/WBO world title bout, as the WBA mandatory challenger.
Fury (21-1, 11 KO) had a world title shot last September, losing a narrow decision to Joseph Parker, then the WBO titleholder. But he returned on May 12 in Bolton, stopping Sam Sexton in the fifth round to claim the British title, and now the 23-year-old may be knocking on the door of his second world title fight.
Of course, that doesn’t mean we’ll see Fury match up with Pulev, just as it didn’t mean we’d get Whyte or Miller. If Epic, which has been vastly outbidding other promoters, won another purse bid, maybe they would put the fight in the United Kingdom, or maybe they’d again look to put it in Bulgaria, where Whyte and Miller were not keen to go for the bout.
Whatever happens, Pulev (25-1, 13 KO) has to be getting frustrated at this point. He’s 37 years old, so no spring chicken, and might be trying to fight for the last world title shot he’ll ever get.
If, for the sake of argument, Fury were to pass on the fight, too, the next fighters in line would be Carlos Takam, Joseph Parker (who is busy with a July 28 bout against Whyte), Agit Kabayel, Otto Wallin, and Erkan Teper. That rounds out the IBF top 10.