Joshua stops brave Pulev to clear path for Fury fight

By Sports Desk December 12, 2020

Anthony Joshua retained his IBF, WBA and WBO titles in style at Wembley Arena, stopping Kubrat Pulev in the ninth round of their heavyweight contest. 

In his first outing since reclaiming the belts from Andy Ruiz Jr just over a year ago, Joshua dropped his challenger four times on his way to a victory that clears the path for a huge unification clash with WBC champion Tyson Fury in 2021. 

Pulev had exchanged words with the unified champion at a feisty weigh-in on Friday, yet the Bulgarian failed to pose too many problems once the pair came face to face again in the ring.

Joshua had produced a calculated performance to avenge a stunning first loss in the pros to Ruiz, utilising his boxing skills to record a unanimous points win in their Diriyah rematch in December 2019. 

However, there was no need for the judges on Saturday, the Briton finishing the job as he recorded a 22nd stoppage victory in his 25-fight career. 

After a quiet start to proceedings, the action suddenly came to life in front of a 1,000-strong crowd – Floyd Mayweather Jr among them following the easing of coronavirus restrictions in London – when Pulev was put down twice in the third round. 

Joshua countered a laboured jab with a crunching right hand that immediately had his opponent in trouble, leading to an onslaught that ended when Pulev turned his back while stuck in a corner. 

Cleared to carry on, an uppercut saw him dropped again before an eventful round concluded with both fighters landing hooks after the bell had sounded. 

The only surprise after that was Pulev managing to last for as long as he did, the 39-year-old occasionally even having the odd moment of success as the contest became scrappy. 

Joshua, though, produced a series of uppercuts to signal the beginning of the end, leading to a third knockdown. Pulev rose again to continue, only to be caught by a straight right hand that laid him out. 

It was an emphatic finish, followed by celebrations with Mayweather at ringside, as Joshua made sure he did not slip up with so much at stake.

Related items

  • Frampton gets new date for shot at Herring, April 3 in Dubai Frampton gets new date for shot at Herring, April 3 in Dubai

    Jamel Herring will defend his WBO super-featherweight world title against Carl Frampton on April 3 after their long-delayed bout found a new home in Dubai.

    Northern Ireland's Frampton (28 wins, two defeats) has previously won world honours at super-bantamweight and featherweight and is aiming to become only the fourth fighter in history from the UK to reign across three weight classes.

    He would also be the first three-division world champion from the island of Ireland, although the 34-year-old's shot at history has been delayed several times.

    Herring (22-2) and Frampton were set to face off in London this Saturday but the challenger requested a delay after the recurrence of hand problems.

    A change of date means a new location in The Rotunda at Caesars Palace Bluewaters, with promoter Bob Arum telling The Athletic last week that he expected fans to be allowed in attendance. The bout would have taken place behind closed doors in the UK due to coronavirus restrictions.

    Herring v Frampton was first mooted in late 2019, with the global pandemic initially halting plans before Herring suffered a scratched cornea during a disqualification victory over Jonathan Oquendo last September.

  • Fury wants two 2021 fights but says Joshua bout 'no further forward' Fury wants two 2021 fights but says Joshua bout 'no further forward'

    Tyson Fury intends to fight twice in 2021 having grown tired of waiting for his next bout amid talks with Anthony Joshua.

    WBC heavyweight champion Fury was last in action in February 2020 when he beat Deontay Wilder in a rematch after the 2018 draw between the pair.

    A trilogy fight against Wilder was due to follow, but the coronavirus pandemic delayed plans and the clash fell through when no date was agreed for last year.

    Fury has since been consumed with discussion of a long-awaited unification bout against Joshua.

    The 32-year-old remains concerned by the lack of progress in negotiations and is determined simply to get back in the ring, regardless of the opponent.

    "It was just a big mess-up," Fury told ESPN of the Wilder trilogy. "I should have boxed, because I've been so inactive. I've been out for over a year.

    "By the time I fight again, looking at maybe June if this Joshua fight happens, that will be a year and six months out of the ring, which is not ideal preparation for any super-fight.

    "If that fight doesn't happen this summer, it's got to happen sooner or later.

    "But Top Rank has to give me two fights this year. I will fight two times on ESPN. I don't care who it is.

    "If it's not Joshua, we're looking to fight in April or early May and the end of the year. If it is Joshua, then June and the end of the year. Bang, bang. So, 2021 is looking bright."

    On facing Joshua, he added: "They've had a full year to try and make this fight happen.

    "Since the last Wilder fight, even before the Wilder fight, they were talking about a fight potentially between me and Joshua.

    "They've had a full year to make something happen, and it hasn't happened as of yet. It is what it is. We're no further forward today than we were a year ago.

    "The way [the pandemic] is at the moment, I don't think [negotiations have] got much to do with the fighters.

    "It's to do with the venue, date, place, site fees. It's to do with everything but the fight itself."

  • Joshua tells Fury to 'come and find the boss' Joshua tells Fury to 'come and find the boss'

    Anthony Joshua has no concerns over where his undisputed heavyweight showdown against Tyson Fury might be staged – boasting he is ready to fight "in my back garden [or] your back garden".

    Talks between the camps of WBC heavyweight champion Fury and Joshua, who holds the WBA, WBO and IBF versions, are progressing with a view to sealing potentially the richest bout in boxing history.

    Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn told Sky Sports earlier this month that only "minor details" needed to be ironed out after both camps had swapped draft contracts.

    The developing COVID-19 situation means a variety of locations are being considered as hosts, with a fight in the UK in the middle of this year appearing a long-shot.

    Hearn has listed Saudi Arabia, the United States, Qatar, Dubai, Singapore and China as possible destinations, but Joshua told Sky News he has no preference.

    "Any option. Home turf, Middle East, my back garden, your back garden. I don't mind where it is," he said.

    "I'm just ready to fight. I want that belt. I want to compete with Fury so all options are open to me.

    "[The pandemic] is getting close to things being normal. We're working on a date for around June.

    "So if Tyson is serious, which I think he is, he'll know where to come and find the boss.

    "I'm ready. I'm really looking forward to competition - all I want to do is fight, fight, fight."

    Joshua, who secured a dominant ninth-round triumph over Kubrat Pulev in December, and his manager Freddie Cunningham have both claimed positive developments in the talks with Fury's team this week.

    "I try not to do too much teasing. I had a catch-up with 258 Management, the great team I've been working with since I turned professional," the 31-year-old added.

    "They have been working in negotiations. They updated my promotional team, they updated me."

    Fury became a two-time heavyweight champion when he demolished Deontay Wilder to claim the WBC crown 12 months ago.

    Wilder's apparent desire to activate a rematch clause could yet scupper Joshua v Fury, although the American has behaved erratically since his first career loss and Hearn has been told by Fury's representatives that his option "isn't going to be an issue".

    Joshua's mandatory for the WBO title is due, although the sanctioning body have ruled fellow Briton Joe Joyce will fight former unified cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk in an interim bout, with the winner to face whoever prevails between Joshua and Fury.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.