Kubrat Pulev was beaten, for just the second time in his career, when he faced Anthony Joshua back in December, but now it has been revealed how the Bulgarian had been battling symptoms of Covid-19 prior to the fight. Ivaylo Gotzev, Pulev’s co-promoter, made the revelation when speaking with Sky Sports, and Gotzev says Pulev wants a second go at AJ.
After being stopped in the ninth round by Joshua, Pulev told the WBA/IBF/WBO heavyweight ruler to “remember me.” Gotzev says this was Pulev’s way of saying he will be back and that he wants to fight Joshua again, when he has “a full tank.”
“I think what he said was, ‘Remember me, remember me,’ in other words, what he was leading to was, ‘Remember me, you will see me again. I’ll come back. I’ll come back and we’ll meet again,’” Gotzev said. “He really didn’t have the power or the strength, nor did he have the sparring that he needed in preparation. Once again, not excuses, just facts, and that’s what happened.”
It really is amazing Pulev engaged in such a big and important fight at a time when he had been battling the coronavirus. Pulev should have pulled out of the fight, right? Gotzev says his fighter couldn’t afford to do that, as he feared he would never get a third date with AJ (the two initially set to fight back in 2017).
“He says, ‘No, I’m going through with it, I’m going to fight AJ, and I know I might never get a third chance at this fight ever again,’” Gotzev explained. “It was too much to lose, not fighting for all those belts. He really believed in himself. He had a shot at cracking through AJ and he tried. Within a month prior to the fight, he had Covid. He had to alter his training and quite honestly I thought we were going home.”
Pulev did the best he could against Joshua but he was overpowered and stopped, as we all saw. But now, knowing what we know, it must be agreed that Pulev did remarkably well in the fight. Imagine going in with the best heavyweight on the planet (or the second best, depending on your view), just four weeks after managing to overcome Covid! Pulev should be congratulated for his heroic effort. Even if plenty of us feel he really should have withdrawn from the fight under the circumstances.
As for Pulev getting a second shot at Joshua, this seems very unlikely. AJ is heading into that massive showdown (or two) with Tyson Fury.