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Joshua vs. Takam next, Pulev out with injury

Carlos Takam boxing photo

By Jim Dower: Kubrat Pulev’s shoulder injury has caused him not only to lose out on his previously scheduled October 28 fight against IBF/WBA heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (19-0, 19 KOs), but he’s also lost his mandatory position with the International Boxing Federation, according to Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn.

Pulev, 36, won’t be getting a title shot against Joshua anytime soon now, as he’s been replaced by Carlos Takam for the October 28 fight at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. Hearn believes that the International Boxing Federation might throw the Bulgarian Pulev a bone by letting him fight in an IBF heavyweight title eliminator against one of the contenders. If that’s the case, it might be #5 IBF Jarrell Miller

In hindsight, Pulev probably shouldn’t have done any sparring for the Joshua fight. With the money that was on the line for the fight, Pulev should have played it safe and just did light working out. If Pulev were a younger fighter than he is now, then of course it would make sense for him to spar as much as possible, but not or an older guys that is pushing 40.

If Pulev has to go through a tough contender like Jarrell Miller to earn his way back to a No.1 spot in the IBF’s rankings, then he may never get to that point again. Miller would be a really tough cookie for Pulev, because the Bulgarian fighter can’t punch and he has no inside game.

“I don’t think so, because he was making a lot of money and he lost his mandatory position” said Hearn when asked Pulev intentionally pulled out of the fight because he didn’t fancy his chances against Joshua. “You’re talking about him losing that opportunity with that payday, and then you go and make a 7th or 8th of the money in your next fight. Maybe if it were someone else, they would have gone through the fight [with the injury], but not with Anthony Joshua. The last thing you want to do is go through with an injury. You want someone that is hungry and desperate to win, and you get that with Takam,” said Hearn.

It took Pulev 3 years for him to work his way back into position for a title shot after his 5h round knockout loss to former IBF heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko on November 15, 2014. It might be better for Pulev to go in another direction if he wants to earn his way to another title shot. I don’t think he’s going to have it easy the next time around.

The IBF made it easy for Pulev to become Joshua’s mandatory challenger. All Pulev had to do was beat Dereck Chisora, and that was a match made in heaven. Chisora is short, and he throws wide punches. He was never going to beat a tall boxer like Pulev, who jabbed his way to an easy 12 round decision over Chisora last year. It’s going to be a different story if Pulev has to face Miller in an IBF eliminator.

Takam was the IBF’s standby opponent for the Joshua fight. Takam trained to get ready for the eventuality of Pulev suffering an injury. It was smart for Hearn to arrange with the IBF to have a guy waiting to fill in for Pulev in the event of him getting injured. With Pulev’s history of injuries, it was wise for Hearn to have Takan waiting in the wings to step in for the Bulgarian fighter. Now Joshua and Hearn need to hope that Takam doesn’t get injured in the next 12 days before the fight, because he’s the same age as Pulev at 36. When you get a guy that old, injuries can happen at any time.

“Carlos Takam is a hungry guy. If he beats Joshua, he knows he’s a multi-millionaire overnight,” said Hearn to IFL TV. “He’s ready. He’s been in camp training for this fight, and you’re going to get a good fight. Takam has been preparing for Joshua, but Joshua hasn’t been preparing for Takam. Joshua is pissed off. He knows Takam and he quite ranks him. He knows he’s tough and he knows he’s a real fighter,” said Hearn.

Takam will make a lot of money even if he loses. Of course, he’s going to make a lot more if he can get past Joshua somehow. What Takam has going for him is Wladimir Klitschko just created a blue print in how to beat Joshua in their fight on April 29. Wladimir pushed Joshua hard in the 6th round, and he had him gassing out and not recovering for 4 rounds from the expenditure of energy. Joshua was 250 lbs. for the Klitschko fight. He looked to have lost some weight, but perhaps no more than 10 lbs. at the most and maybe not even that. Joshua was gassing out even in the Olympics when he was 220 lbs. I don’t think it matters how heavy Joshua is. His large muscles are going to cause him to face if Takam forces him to fight hard.

“He might get a final eliminator now,” said Hearn about Pulev. ”He’ll be re-ranked by the IBF, and when they call a final eliminator, maybe they’ll give him an opportunity. It’s a mandatory defense. The deal with Takam is he was on standby. Pulev is a complex character. He’s a strange guy. I’m sure his injury is legit, but maybe he didn’t fancy it. I can’t believe that for the money he was going to make and now he’s no longer the mandatory,” said Hearn.

Hearn is speculating, of course, in talking of what could happen with Pulev with his climb back to the top. The IBF is going to meet and decide Pulev’s fate shortly. He’s got a good promoter, so it’s likely that we’ll see Pulev in a title eliminator before long. The bad news is Pulev may need to fight Jarrell Miller when IBF orders the eliminator. If Pulev is lucky, he’ll only need to fight Christian Hammer in the eliminator. Hammer is expected to fight in a WBO title eliminator soon against Alexander Povetkin, so I don’t see him facing Pulev in an IBF eliminator anytime soon.

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