Kubrat Pulev reportedly injured, Joshua fight in doubt
By Jeff Aranow: Former heavyweight world title challenger Kubrat Pulev (25-1, 13 KOs) is reportedly injured, and his October 28th fight with IBF/WBA heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (19-0, 19 KOs) is in doubt. Pulev may pull out of his fight against Joshua at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.
According to news from the Mirror, the 36-year-old Bulgarian Pulev has suffered a shoulder injury, and it’s possible that he’ll pull out of the fight. With less than 2 weeks to go before the October 28 fight date, there isn’t much time for Pulev to heal if his shoulder injury is a bad one.
Tickets have already been sold for the Joshua-Pulev fight in Cardiff. There’s expected to be a huge crowd of 80,000 boxing fans, much of them fans of Joshua, to see the two large heavyweights square off. Pulev, 36, was already the underdog for the fight. But if goes ahead and fights with a shoulder injury, it could decrease his chances of winning.
Pulev will reportedly be getting $5 million for the Joshua fight on October 28. Joshua is said to be getting $20 million.
Pulev is the International Boxing Federation’s mandatory challenger. The IBF ordered Joshua to make this defense; otherwise he would have likely gone after a more appealing unification fight against WBC champion Deontay “Bronze Bomber” Wilder or WBO belt holder Joseph Parker. Both of those heavyweights are undefeated and well thought of in the boxing world.
Pulev is mostly known for his unsuccessful challenge of former IBF heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko 3 years ago on November 15, 2014. Pulev was knocked down 3 times and stopped in the 5th round by the 6’6” Klitschko. The fight was supposed to be a competitive one going into it, but it turned out to be a bad mismatch with Klitschko knocking Pulev down again and again. It was almost like a game rather than a fight. Pulev was injured during training for the Klitschko fight, and that caused the match to be postponed. Wladimir was hurt as well in suffering an calf injury.
Pulev has won his last 5 fights since his loss to Wladimir, albeit against weak opposition. Pulev did beat former heavyweight world title challenger Dereck Chisora last year by a 12 round split decision on May 7.
This is supposed to be Joshua’s 4th defense of his IBF heavyweight title that he won in 2015 with his 2nd round knockout of IBF champion Charles Martin on April 9, 2015. Joshua has defended the IBF belt in beating Dominic Breazeale, Eric Molina and Wladimir Klitschko.
If Pulev misses a lengthy amount of time with the injury, it’s unclear what Joshua’s next move would be. He has a lot of options available to him for interesting fights against a number of heavyweights in the division. Deontay Wilder is tied down with a mandatory defense against Bermane Stiverne, but Joseph Parker could be available for a unification fight. That would be a mouth-watering option for an interesting replacement fight while Joshua waits for Pulev’s injury to heal. The worst case scenario is Joshua has to sit and wait 6 to 8 months for Pulev’s injury to heal before he can fight again.