Kubrat Pulev is convinced WBA/IBF/WBO heavyweight champ Anthony Joshua is afraid of him. The Bulgarian who is awaiting his IBF mandatory shot at AJ has said this several times, and now, in speaking with Sky Sports, Pulev’s manager, Ivaylo Gotsev, says he agrees with his fighter. The fear Joshua has of “The Cobra” is the reason it is taking so long for the fight to get done, Gotsev says.
In fairness to Joshua and everyone else concerned, it’s nobody’s fault the coronavirus totally messed up this year’s boxing schedule. Still, Pulev, 28-1(14), is certain Joshua is in no rush to face him in the ring. Also, Gotsev says Pulev will grant Joshua a rematch after he wins their first fight, and that he will repeat the win in the return.
“Yeah, we’ll give it to him, just like he did with [Andy] Ruiz, but I can assure you one thing – Kubrat is going to be ready for the rematch as well,” Gotsev said. “He’s not going to let himself go like Ruiz did, for whatever reasons. I mean that wasn’t serious. Kubrat is a serious contender, he’s a No 1 contender, the mandatory contender. He got there by blood, sweat, and tears, and he’s legitimate. They know this is a serious fight, and quite honestly, Kubrat seems to think that AJ is very afraid of him, and that’s why it’s taking so long. I happen to agree.”
Gotsev says Joshua did not impress him in either of his two fights with Ruiz, saying how Joshua “looked like a deer in the headlights” in fight-one, and that AJ “ran like a deer” in the return. Does Joshua see plenty to fear from Pulev? The 39-year-old Bulgarian is very experienced, he is physically strong with a good engine, and he is durable (stopped just once, this by Wladimir Klitschko in Pulev’s sole pro loss). But is Pulev a big puncher? Not going by his record, he isn’t.
But styles make fights, and maybe Gotsev is right, perhaps Joshua isn’t in too much of a rush to fight Pulev. We still await a date for this, a match-up that has grown in terms of fan interest.