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Anthony Joshua vs. Kubrat Pulev on December 12th at O2 Arena

Anthony Joshua Kubrat Pulev

By Charles Brun: Eddie Hearn says December 12th is the date that he’s shooting for to stage Anthony Joshua vs. Kubrat Pulev fight at the O2 Arena in London, UK. As of now, the contract still isn’t signed, and Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) can move on if a fight between him and Tyson Fury presents itself for December.

Eddie is hoping that some type of crowd to be allowed to attend the Joshua-Pulev fight on the December 14th date, but if not, then they’re prepared to do the event without boxing fans.

Joshua has no other choice but to fight Pulev, even if fans aren’t allowed in to watch the match live. He wants to keep his IBF belt, and Pulev is the guy that earned the mandatory position with that governing body.

December 12th the working date

Hearn has heard the challenges coming from Team Fury for him and Joshua to sit down at the negotiating table to put a fight together for December. He’s ready to do so, but he doubts that Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) can get out of his contractually bound trilogy match against Deontay Wilder.

Unless Fury can somehow get out of his deal with Wilder, Hearn will have IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Joshua defend against his IBF mandatory Pulev (28-1, 14 KOs) on December 12th at the O2 Arena.

Anthony Joshua Kubrat Pulev

“December 12th is the working date for that fight at the O2 Arena,” said Hearn about the Joshua vs. Pulev fight.

There’s not a lot of fan interest in Joshua’s title defense against the 39-year-old Pulev, unfortunately. It’s a match that Joshua, 30, has got to get out of the way for him to keep his IBF strap, but boxing fans aren’t excited about it.

If asked, the fans would prefer to see AJ vacate the IBF title and focus on fighting a more popular heavyweight while he waits for Fury to deal with Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) in their trilogy match this year.

Kubrat with eight-fight winning streak

Pulev has an eight-fight winning streak since being destroyed by Wladimir Klitschko in five rounds in 2014.

Kubrat done well in the last five years of his career, beating the likes of Dereck Chisora, Hughie Fury and Kevin Johnson. However, Pulev only has one quality win during that time period and that was against Chisora, who is fringe-level heavyweight.

The rest of the victories by Pulev have come against substandard fighters with little in the way of talent.

Pulev’s wins since 2015:

  • Kevin Johnson
  • Samuel Peter
  • Hughie Fury
  • Maurice Harris
  • George Arias
  • Rydell Booker
  • Bogdan Dinu
  • Derek Chisora

Anthony Joshua Kubrat Pulev

The only talented guy among the bunch is Chisora, and he’s a borderline journeyman. You can argue that Pulev is a perfect example of how far a heavyweight can go if he’s matched carefully by his promoters.

The above wins have put Pulev in position to fight for a world title against Joshua despite the fact that he’s only beaten one decent fighter in Chisora.

Kubrat earned his IBF mandatory spot in October 2018 in beating Hughie Fury in a title eliminator. Sadly, Pulev didn’t have to do much to earn his mandatory spot with the IBF.

The sanctioning body arguably lobbed a softball pitch to Pulev by sanctioning his match against the light-hitting Hughie as a title eliminator rather than ordering him to face someone with the ability to potentially beat him.

That’s part where some boxing fans have a problem. If Pulev had beaten someone with talents like Filip Hrgovic, Dillian Whyte, Oleksandr Usyk, or Daniel Dubois, there would be more interest in a fight between him and Joshua.

Pulev could give AJ problems

Joshua has got to be careful against Pulev because the Bulgarian has a great jab, and he’s got respectable pop in his right hand. Although the 6’4 1/2″ Pulev isn’t known as a big puncher, he can do damage occasionally when he lands one of his right hands.

Anthony Joshua Kubrat Pulev

Pulev’s size makes him dangerous for a fighter like Joshua, who doesn’t have the most incredible punch resistance. If Joshua loses to Pulev, that could make it two defeats in his last three fights.

Last year, the unheralded Andy Ruiz Jr stopped Joshua in the 7th round in a big upset. Fortunately for Matchroom, Joshua was able to retool his game and defeat an out of shape Ruiz Jr in the rematch in December of 2019, but the damage was done.

Boxing fans saw Joshua lose to a fighter that he shouldn’t have last year, and now they no longer view him as an invincible force of nature. Now he’s seen as a modern-day Primo Carnera type of guy, a fighter with massive size and muscles, but flawed and vulnerable at all times.

“Realistically, in boxing terms, I’m way ahead of where I should be. I’m working at such a quick pace,” said Joshua to “I shouldn’t even be in a position where I’m mentioned in Tyson Fury’s era.

He’s five or six years ahead of me in terms of turning professional. In fact, when he was turning pro, I was just putting on my gloves for the first time.”

Size has played a major factor for AJ

Joshua’s size and power allow him to do things that a less experienced professional can’t do, and that’s obvious. If the 6’6″ Joshua were a normal-sized heavyweight around 6’3″, 230 lbs, he likely wouldn’t be nearly as good as he is now.

Joshua is winning his fights on size alone rather than on him being a great technical fighter. You could say the same thing about Fury, though. If you take away Fury’s gargantuan 6’9″ frame and reduce him to 6’3″, does he still win? I doubt it.

If Fury were shorter, he would be like his cousin Hughie Fury, and he wouldn’t be able to lean back and his reach to beat guys with more speed and power than him. So basically, Joshua and Fury are two fighters that are winning with their size.

Joshua seems to be confused about why he’s able to do the things he does without the experience of someone like Fury.

When you have a considerable size advantage over your opponents, you’re going to do well in this era. If Mke Tyson, Larry Holmes, and Muhammad Ali were fighting in this era, then Joshua and Fury would have significant problems.


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