We’re a week out from Anthony Joshua (23-1, 21KO) putting his unified heavyweight titles on the line against Kubrat Pulev (28-1, 14KO). Fans will be allowed back into the Wembley Arena in North London at limited capacity as Joshua attempts to leap the final hurdle before an expected meeting with Tyson Fury in 2021.
Pulev, however, is a live dog. The Bulgarian is unbeaten against fighters not named Wladimir Klitschko and will be looking to reinforce any demons that still linger in the head of the Briton following his solitary career defeat to Andy Ruiz Jr last June.
This week, Pulev’s promoter and Top Rank CEO Bob Arum has been speaking to Marc Gatford via the Betway Insider Blog about next week’s fight, Fury-Wilder 3, and the future of Oleksandr Usyk.
Can Kubrat Pulev upset the odds against heavy favourite Anthony Joshua?
“It’s one thing to box and run around the ring, making out you’re second coming of Muhammad Ali when you’re fighting a fat, obese Andy Ruiz,” Arum said of Joshua-Pulev. “But it’s going to be a different story when you’re fighting a fit and ready Pulev, who’s in great shape and a good boxer.”
How to Watch Joshua vs Pulev
Arum sees Pulev (28-1, 14 KO) as able to match the boxing ability of Joshua (23-1, 21 KO), but able to beat him, and by knockout.
“Pulev has the ability to corner Joshua and to take him out, so I believe not only is Pulev going to win the fight but he’s going to win it by knockout,” Arum said. “We promoted Ruiz 30 times and most of the time he had trouble impacting opponents with his power, so the fact he devastated Joshua so badly indicates to me Joshua has a big weakness and that is his inability to take a punch.”
“I’m not a fool, I’m talking about what I’ve seen: I saw Anthony Joshua got knocked on his ass and thoroughly beaten not so long ago.”
In the news this week, Joshua said he’d take a pay cut in order to stage a fight with Fury in the UK - could that happen?
But if Joshua does get past Pulev, which is what most expect, that undisputed championship fight with Tyson Fury could come at some point in 2021. Arum, who co-promotes Fury (30-0-1, 21 KO) with Frank Warren, said he firmly believes that fight should not be held in the United States, and would not push for it to be.
“If it’s between the US and the UK, the fight certainly belongs in the UK,” Arum said. “But if it’s between the UK and some other locations, which might be willing to pay a big site fee, then that’s something the parties will have to consider.
Fury, of course, is entangled in arbitration with Deontay Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KO), and a third fight between those two may be necessary.
What’s the latest on Deontay Wilder’s legal challenge to force a third fight with Tyson Fury?
“If Pulev beats Joshua there’s no Joshua fight for Tyson Fury because Joshua has a rematch clause,” Arum said. “At that point, Fury is out there looking for opponents and I’d think the best available opponent would be Wilder.”
Arum said Fury understandably was offended by Wilder’s recent bizarre rant about loaded gloves and tainted water and conspiracies against him, and that it would be “up to Fury” whether to fight Wilder a third time or not. As for Wilder trying to force a third fight contractually, Arum is confident Wilder’s team won’t get what they want.
“It’s one thing to bring a claim and it’s a second thing to be successful,” he said. “I believe that Wilder has no rights any longer for a third fight and therefore his claim will be denied. But I can’t stop them from thinking otherwise and taking it to litigation. The contract says Wilder’s rights ran out at the end of October and I really believe that contract displays clearly that Wilder does not have a claim for a third fight.”