Kubrat Pulev will attack Anthony Joshua’s body says David Price
By Doug Gillen: David Price predicts that the highly-schooled Kubrat Pulev will attack IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua to the body on Saturday to dethrone him in front of fans at the Wembley Arena in London, UK.
1000 pro-Joshua fans are expected to be in attendance on the night, and Pulev would like nothing better than to send them home with frowns on their faces. Price has sparred with Pulev in the past, and he says he’s a “hard man” with a lot of ability.
Most casual boxing fans have never heard of the 39-year-old Pulev, and many of them are assuming that this is another “soft” opponent for Joshua, says Price.
But for the fans that follow boxing, they know that Pulev could be a real banana skin for Joshua, who doesn’t have a great chin or good stamina.
Joshua will need to work hard to beat Pulev, and this could go badly if he fails to knock him out early.
Price says Joshua will get hit, and he better be ready to forget about the Wladimir Klitschko style of fighting that he used in his last fight against the out of shape Andy Ruiz Jr.
Pulev will make Joshua work hard
“He’s had a couple of keep-busy fights while he’s been in the mandatory position, but no one has tested him, and I think that may play a part on Saturday night,” David Price said about Pulev to Boxing Social.
“He’s [Pulev] not getting any younger, he’s 39, but I know him quite well, and I’ve done quite a bit of sparring with him. I can tell you first hand, he’s a hard man, and he’ll make Joshua work every step of the way.
“I sparred with him before the Olympics and as a professional as well before a couple of his fights. He’s a solid fighter, a really good fighter, and his wins tell you that. His [Pulev] only loss was to Wladimir Klitschko, and he’s beaten Dereck Chisora and he beat Dereck quite handy.
“That’s just the tip of the iceberg. He’s got some wins, and he’s always been a class operator. He’s going to put up a class fight, and it’s going to be a lot better than people are anticipating.
“Casual fans have never heard of him before, and they probably think that it’s a soft fight for Joshua. I think they’ll realize that Pulev is a serious operator, and he’s worthy of this fight that’s for sure. It’s going to be interesting,” Price predicted.
Unlike the out of shape Andy Ruiz Jr, who was unable to catch-up to Joshua last December, Pulev is coming into this Saturday’s contest in great shape. If Joshua tries to evade Pulev as he did with Ruiz, he’ll have a harder time.
Price says Joshua needs to fight aggressively
“Joshua has been out of the ring for a year, but his last fight was a high-pressure situation, trying to redeem himself against Andy Ruiz, and he done that in a way that we hadn’t seen from him before,” Price said.
“He boxed patiently behind the jab, and he got the 12 rounds in the bank. It’ll be a bit different in this fight [against Pulev]. I think his best bet against Pulev is to go back to the old Anthony Joshua now.
“Not be reckless, but be a bit more aggressive. Wladimir Klitschko had to do that against Pulev, and Klitschko at that time wasn’t fighting that way. Everything was safety first with Klitschko at that time.
“It was just jab-jab, let a right hand go every now and then tie his opponents up. With Pulev if you watch, he had to bring the beast out in himself and get the job done, and that’s what he done.
“Joshua would be wise to do the same thing because Pulev will just go for it for 12 rounds, no problem.
“Joshua, they’ll be boxing at range, and Pulev will probably try and invest quite a bit early with the jabs to Joshua’s body,” Price added.
The question is, can Joshua change back to his aggressive style of fighting for the Pulev contest, or is he stuck with his new style of fighting with his Klitschko style
Fighting aggressively against Pulev could be a risky proposition for Joshua because he’s got both chin and stamina problems. The 6’4 1/2″ Pulev has the size and the power to clip Joshua if he gets reckless.
AJ has a lot to lose against Kubrat
“He’ll try and land the jab. He won’t really try and land the jab to his head because he’ll be too cagey early,” Price continued. “He’ll try and land to the body, and his left hand is probably as good as his right hand.
“He’s quite left hand dominant, Pulev. If you watch some of his knockouts and stoppages, they’ve been off straight left hands. He’s not the best bent arm puncher.
“He doesn’t throw good uppercuts or hooks. It’s all straight punches, and he’s very technically skilled. I think Joshua’s close up explosive fighting when they come together for the clinch, he can just clip him [Pulev] and get the job done.
“That’s the way I’m seeing it. It might have been better if it had happened a couple of years ago when Pulev was a bit younger, but he lives the life, and like I said, he’s always fit and always ready.
“He’s got a lot to lose, and a lot more to lose than Pulev,” Price said about Joshua having the lucrative Tyson Fury fight that he could miss out on if he gets beaten by Kubrat.
If Joshua gets beaten by Pulev, he’ll need to forget about a unification clash against WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury that the two have previously agreed on for the first half of 2021.
Pulev has nothing to lose on Saturday. He’s already getting a big payday that will help him live comfortably for the rest of his life, and everything else is just gravy. If Pulev beats Joshua, the two will fight a rematch next year.
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn revealed that there’s a rematch clause in the contract that will prevent Pulev from disappearing with AJ’s IBF, WBA, and WBO heavyweight titles.
What Joshua prefers to happen is for him to beat Pulev and then go on to face Fury next, assuming that he isn’t required to fight Deontay Wilder next.
Joshua will have a difficult time trying to outbox Pulev
“I think Pulev is a better boxer than Parker and Ruiz. Ruiz was never going to win a boxing match with Joshua if Joshua stayed away from getting clipped,” said Price.
“With Parker the same. A good backfoot boxer Parker when he’s fighting someone shorter like Takam, but you watch him when he fought Hughie Fury.
“Nine times out of ten, he’s [Joshua] going to beat a fighter like Ruiz in a boxing match. But against Pulev, the odds are a lot less. And the longer the fight goes on, he can make it really hard.
“Like I said, I think he’s going to attack Joshua’s body quite a bit, and as long as the fight goes, I think attacking [by Joshua] is the best line of defense and on to the next one,” said Price.
David is correct about Joshua needing to get in the trenches with Pulev and making it a war if he wants to win. When Pulev fought Wladimir Klitschko in 2014, he gave him all kinds of problems when he was on the outside.
Pulev was snapping Wladimir’s head back repeatedly in the first and second rounds. It wasn’t until Wladimir started brawling that he was able to take control of the fight.
Joshua recently changed his fighting style to the safety-first style that Wladimir used during the second half of his career, and he’s going to need to revert to his old style of brawling if he wants to beat Pulev.
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