Arum says Joshua wasn’t stellar against Pulev, picks Fury to destroy him

By Boxing News - 12/13/2020 - Comments

By Jim Maltzman: Tyson Fury’s promote Bob Arum wasn’t wowed by what he say from Anthony Joshua last Saturday night with him knocking out his fighter Kubrat Pulev in the ninth round at the SSE Arena in Wembley, UK.

Although some would say that Arum is a little bitter at seeing Pulev (28-2, 14 KOs) getting dropped four times en route to losing by a ninth-round knockout, he says he’s objective about what he saw from Joshua.

Arum insists Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs) looked “tentative” and “ordinary” with how he performed, which goes along with his view of him being a shot fighter since his loss to Andy Ruiz Jr last year.

It would be easy to dismiss Arum’s comments if Joshua had looked impressive against the 39-year-old Pulev, but the fact of the matter is, he didn’t look exceptional. This was not the vintage Joshua that boxing fans had hoped to see from 2013 to 2016.

Joshua has clearly lost something from the bad knockout loss he suffered against Ruiz Jr a year ago. Whether it’s a psychological thing or perhaps neurological is hard to know right off hand, but it’s evident that Joshua is not the same fighter he was when he turned pro in 2013.

Image: Arum says Joshua wasn't stellar against Pulev, picks Fury to destroy him

Joshua wasn’t impressive against Pulev, says Arum

“Joshua was the better man.  Kubrat couldn’t pull the trigger. He landed a couple of good shots, but he couldn’t follow up, and Joshua got him out of there,” said Bob Arum to IFL TV.

But I don’t think it was a particularly stellar performance by Anthony Joshua, but it was good enough to win the fight by stoppage. He tried his best, but it wasn’t good enough,” said Arum about Pulev.

“Now it clears the decks for the fight that everybody wants to see between Tyson Fury and Joshua. No, the truth is, no,” said Arum when asked if he was impressed by Joshua.

“None of us here worried because he was tentative, he didn’t show an ability to get away from a punch. I mean, he was a little bit better than ordinary. That’s the truth, I’m not going to sugarcoat it. He [Joshua] didn’t appear to any of us to pose any kind of problem for Tyson Fury,” said Arum.

If we’re going, to be honest about it, Joshua wasn’t impressive at all against Pulev, and it would be not very smart to think he was. Joshua looked like he’d regressed as a fighter. I take that back. Joshua looked like he’d deteriorated, and it’s unclear if that’s age-related or the wear and tear from his two fights against Andy Ruiz Jr.

Arum: Joshua is made to order for Fury

“I think Joshua is made to order for Tyson Fury,” said Arum. “But that opinion comes with a bit of bias obviously, I think I think Joshua doesn’t measure up with Fury.

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“I think Fury is the more powerful puncher, the better boxer, and Joshua won’t be able to keep Fury off of him as he was with Pulev. I believe so, yes,” said Fury when asked if Fury still stop Joshua.

“We start talking on Monday, and we start putting together a memorandum of understanding, which essentially sets out a 50-50 deal with television and these other elements to be decided on a mutual basis,” said Arum about him beginning negotiations with Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn on Monday.

“Joshua’s side on one hand and Fury’s side on the other. Yeah, that’s on the table, and that seems very, very good,” said Arum about a two-fight deal between Fury and Joshua.

“The winner of the first fight is 50-50, and the winner of the second fight gets 60%,” said Arum.

Right now, Arum could be hitting the nail on its head about his assertion that Joshua is made to order for Fury. Joshua’s lack of experience against crafty fighters like Fury could prove to be too much for him.

It wouldn’t hurt for Joshua to fight against Oleksandr Usyk first to get him ready for the tricky style of fighting that Fury uses.

While Usyk isn’t nearly as big as Fury, he’s similar to him because he’s showing so many different looks. If Joshua can solve the Usyk riddle, it would greatly help him get ready for a fighter like Fury.

Image: Arum says Joshua wasn't stellar against Pulev, picks Fury to destroy him

Bob still insists Fury vs. Wilder contract has expired

“Our position is clear from the agreement we signed with Wilder, the contract has run out,” said Arum about Fury’s rematch clause with Deontay.

“Obviously, anybody is allowed to file claims no matter how specious they may be, but from our reading of the contract between Wilder and Fury, it’s clear that it expired sometime in October,” said Arum.

Wilder (42-1-41 KOs) will be a risky fight for Fury to take if he’s stuck having to defend his WBC heavyweight title against him in early 2021, seeing that ‘The Bronze Bomber’ wants revenge.

If it’s true that Wilder was injured for their rematch earlier this year, Fury could be up the creek without a paddle in the third fight against him.

It’s not for Arum to decide whether the contract has expired for the rematch for the Fury vs. Wilder III fight. A mediator will be deciding on the situation, and he’s expected to make a decision shortly.

If Fury is forced to fight Wilder next, it will put a stop to the plans for the Joshua-Fury fight to take place in early 2021.

It won’t be all bad, though, considering it will give Joshua a chance to defend against his WBO mandatory challenger Oleksandr Usyk, who has already been waiting since 2018 for his title shot.

Image: Arum says Joshua wasn't stellar against Pulev, picks Fury to destroy him

Joshua would prefer not to vacate his WBO title if he can help it, but he may be forced to if Fury doesn’t have an impediment blocking him from facing AJ in early 2021.

In some ways, it’s a chore for a world champion to hold as many belts as Joshua is now, as it means that he must make frequent mandatory defenses against challengers that don’t bring much to the table in terms of their popularity.