By Scott Gilfoid: Anthony Joshua lost his temper and looked like he was close to tears at Friday’s weigh-in after challenger Kubrat Pulev made a few comments in boasting about his talent ahead of their fight on Saturday night.
Unfortunately, it was impossible to hear what the two fighters were saying to each other due to Sky Sports commentator Carl Froch babbling the whole time nonstop, making it difficult to hear nary a word.
It was disappointing, to say the least. If Froch had stopped yapping for a second, we could have heard what the two were saying.
Pulev (28-1, 14 KOs) said afterward to Sky that he merely told Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) that he himself is an “amazing” fighter, and that was all it took to get AJ shook mentally, appearing on the breaking point.
Joshua looked like Pulev had made it personal, but according to the big Bulgarian, all he did was a bit of bragging about himself.
As far as the weights go, Pulev weighed in at 239 1/2 pounds, which is nine pounds lighter than what he weighed for his last contest against Rydell Booker last year in November 2019. For Pulev’s fight against Hughie Fury in 2018, he weighed 240 lbs, and he easily beat him by a 12 round decision.
Joshua weighed in at 240 3/4 pounds today, which is three pounds heavier than the 237 lbs he scaled in at for his rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr last year in December. I hate to say it, but Joshua looked over-muscled compared to for the rematch with Andy Jr.
A highly emotional Joshua, who appeared near tear, wants, essentially, to humble Pulev on Saturday, but that may not happen.
Joshua isn’t used to his opponents being proud of their own talent, and that’s obviously what set him off. AJ had the aura of being a King at the weigh-in today, and Pulev didn’t want to bow before him.
“I’m a better boxer, and tomorrow I show him,” Pulev said to Sky Sports about Joshua. “That’s what I tell him, ‘Because I’m amazing’. I think he didn’t like that.”
“Amazing boxing, amazing style, I’ll show the whole world tomorrow that I am much better than him. That’s it, easy,” said Pulev.
See what I mean? All it took for Pulev to have Joshua looking apoplectic was for him to brag about his own talent, and that set AJ off. There’s obviously some ego there for Joshua that caused him to lose it.
For Joshua to get so upset about Pulev blowing his own trumpet about his talent shows that AJ’s ego is fragile and not as it stable as it should be. What Ruiz Jr did to Joshua may have undermined his self-belief, so anything minor like Pulev reveling in his talent was enough to set him off.
“Pulev was goading him while he walked up the stairs, goading him from the scales. He just reacted and he was ready to go right there,” said Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn in trying to do damage control afterward.
“‘I’m better than you, I will show you tomorrow night,'” said Hearn in revealing what Pulev had told Joshua. “AJ didn’t like it, he wanted to say his bit back and he said, ‘Tomorrow night I’ll humble you and I will knock you out.'”
I don’t know about you, but if that’s all it took for Pulev to get Joshua in a state of near tears, it’s disturbing and a bad sign for Saturday night. If Joshua goes into a meltdown inside the ring at the Wembley Arena, Pulev will have him right where he wants him.