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Boxing News of Wednesday, 9 December 2020


Anthony Joshua ‘ready for war’ ahead of Kubrat Pulev title clash

Anthony Joshua ready to face Kubrat Pulev Anthony Joshua ready to face Kubrat Pulev

Anthony Joshua is ready for war when he takes on Kubrat Pulev in a world heavyweight title clash at Wembley’s SSE Arena on Saturday, writes PA. The Briton will be back in the ring for the first time in 12 months, since he outpointed Andy Ruiz Jr in Saudi Arabia to claim back the WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO belts he lost to the same opponent at Madison Square Garden in June, 2019.

A crowd of 1,000 will be in attendance following approval by local authorities and after London was placed in tier two of the new system when lockdown restrictions were relaxed by the government last week.

Joshua entered a bio-secure bubble yesterday and told Sky Sports: “My body is just a vessel that carries my brain, so I have trained my brain more than I have trained my body.
“I am ready for war. I am ready for a fight and looking forward to it.”

While the build-up to Saturday’s showpiece event will be different compared to usual with both fighters in the same bubble and able to mix, Joshua stated he would focus on making everything as normal as possible. Even when the ring bell sounds at the SSE Arena there will be a big contrast to the surroundings compared to in Saudi Arabia.

Joshua beat Ruiz Jr in a rematch last December at a 15,000-seater purpose-built arena and despite that number being small compared to some of the crowds he has fought in front of, the attendance will be even fewer on Saturday.

He insisted: “It is nice, it is nice for the fans as well because it will be intimate.

“It will be a special occasion to witness a world heavyweight champion fight amongst 1,000 people.

“Normally there would be tens of thousands of people in an arena, but there are a lucky 1,000 people in there, so hopefully they get to enjoy it.” Pulev has told Joshua not to worry about any potential bout with Tyson Fury in 2021 ahead of their fight. While the Bulgarian is Joshua’s next opponent, talk continues to centre around the agreement in principle the Olympic gold medallist has in place to fight fellow Briton Fury next year.

But Pulev told Matchroom Boxing: “I feel good, healthy and happy. I feel strong and with a lot of energy and much power. I think after this fight I am going to fight with Tyson Fury. It will be good.”

The 39-year-old conceded a ‘Battle of Britain’ between the Gypsy King and Joshua would be a good fight, but believes he is much-changed from the last time he lost out with world titles on the line.
Wladimir Klitschko knocked out the Sofia-born boxer in the fifth round of their contest back in 2014 and it remains the only defeat of Pulev’s career.

“I will be absolutely different because I have a lot of experience from that fight and now I will be new Kubrat Pulev,” he said.

“It (Joshua-Fury) will be a good fight, but I don’t believe that this fight is going to happen because I will win on Saturday night.” Pulev revealed the wish of his late father is spurring him on to achieve victory this weekend and has seen weaknesses in Joshua’s game.

“We see a lot of mistakes from Anthony, a lot of bad sides to him. I think these mistakes, and the bad sides, stay,” Pulev added.

“This was my late father’s dream. That is why me and my brother are here. His project was that he have sons and for these boys to become boxing champions.

“And we are now real, this is now fact. He looks from above and I’m sure he’s happy. He wants to win on Saturday night with me.”