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Pulev Promoter Gotzev: “Anthony Joshua has failed to deliver, we’ll fight on a boat”

Anthony Joshua Kubrat Pulev

Kubrat Pulev’s co-promoter Ivaylo Gotzev believes Anthony Joshua has failed to display “heart” in his last two displays and insists his man will expose him.

Gotzev is in talks alongside co-promoter Bob Arum with Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn to stage the rescheduled World Heavyweight title clash in the autumn, after their original June 20 date was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hearn suggested last week the fight could take place on a boat and whilst Gotzev is keen for the fight to take place in Croatia, he is open to the offer of a boat.

“By land or by sea this fight must happen,” Gotzev told Pro Boxing Fans.

“Croatia is an excellent choice, we were welcomed.

“There is a beautiful arena still standing today, [it would be] an epic battle, it will be something that’s noble, something that’s never been seen before in modern times.

“Why not? We have the support of the local municipality, the arena wants us, Croatia can accept us. They have very low numbers in their pandemic situation.

“So there it is, that’s available to us. A boat as Eddie suggested, no problem we’ll jump on a boat and get it on.

“Whatever it takes, we’re ready to fight, we’re ready to battle by land or by sea.”

Joshua will make the first defence of his second reign as unified World Heavyweight champion when he eventually tackles IBF mandatory challenger Pulev after winning the belts back against Andy Ruiz in December.

However, Gotzev says the Brit failed to impress despite a dominant display in Saudi Arabia.

“Let’s see the size of his heart,” the Bulgarian continued.

“That’s what we want to find out if he’s still got, because in the last two fights he failed to deliver, he failed to represent the Heavyweight Championship of the World properly.

“So now we’re looking for excuses, we’re talking about how big and strong he is, prove it.

Asked why he wasn’t impressed with Joshua’s victory over Ruiz, Gotzev told Pro Boxing Fans: “He didn’t take any chances.

“He didn’t display a fighter’s heart, he boxed clever, very boring, he ran away from a man who wasn’t in proper shape.

“He basically fought a very grotesquely overweight man who wasn’t in shape to fight him, to go 12 rounds.

“He could have taken a little bit of a risk, maybe not a big one because I understand how important it was for him to gain his titles back, important for him and Eddie to get back in business.

“But, in boxing you have to provide the fans with a bit of drama, which is taking a challenge, taking a risk and there is a risk vs reward.

“I guess he bet really on the reward, he didn’t want to risk anything, the reward was everything that mattered. There was no risk taken whatsoever.

“In the first fight with Ruiz he looked like a deer in the headlights, in the second fight he ran like a deer.”

Joshua has agreed a two-fight deal with WBC champion Tyson Fury for 2021, with the pair pictured bumping into each other on holiday in Marbella over the weekend.

Despite demand for an all-British undisputed fight, Gotzev insists they will not be denied their opportunity and admits talk of step-aside money was never considered.

“We never wanted to do step-aside,” Gotzev added.

“Nor did we want to forfeit our number one position, which was earned by blood, sweat and tears in that order.

“We’ve been waiting for three years now, and it’s the right time, the right moment for this fight to take off.

“I know there’s a big British, UK showdown planned, Tyson Fury vs [Anthony] Joshua.

“As a fan, yeah maybe I want to see it, but first things first, Kubrat is in his face, that’s the proper challenge, he’s the number one contender, deal with that first.

“Go ahead and deal with it AJ, be a man. Show something we haven’t seen in your last two fights, so here we are ready and willing, when is he?”

With the possibility of a small crowd in attendance, Gotzev admits Pulev is willing to take a smaller purse than originally set out and has reassured that finances will not hold up the fight.

“We have a deal, we made a very proper deal with them,” Gotzev added.

“There are percentages being called by the IBF, we have agreed to those percentages, the split that is.

“So we’ll take less as they take less, so we’ve all got to agree. The same pot and everybody gets their piece of the pot, so simple.

“That’s definitely not an issue on our end, definitely not an issue.”

Asked for his prediction on the fight, Gotzev believes Pulev will shock the world and relieve Joshua of his belts.

“It’s going to be a brutal fight, brutal for Anthony Joshua, because he’s going to face a real man,” Gotzev said.

“Although his confidence is very much on a high from their first meeting when they went face-to-face, he didn’t really know who he’s going to challenge.

“Now he knows, because Kubrat has proven himself in the past three years, while Joshua, his stock has fallen.

“So psychologically speaking, I think we’re in awesome shape, it’s going to be a brutal fight, we’re coming for victory, we’re going to get it.

“Whether it’s a beat down or decision or KO, we’re not going to take preference, we’ll take it in whatever order it comes.”

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