Anthony Joshua vows to KO Kubrat Pulev in Cardiff
- Anthony Joshua takes on Kubrat Pulev in Cardiff on October 28
- Bulgarian is Joshua’s mandatory challenger for the IBF title and will be a test
- But Pulev hardly talked up his chances when he admitted ‘the match will be terrifying’ but claimed ‘I have a good chance to win’
- Joshua said he is ‘prepared to go into the trenches’ in order to win if necessary
Anthony Joshua couldn’t help laughing and nodding when asked if he spends his downtime watching highlights of his knockouts on YouTube.
It has become a point of pride and vanity for the IBF and WBA champion of the world that he is yet to be taken the distance in his 19 fights.
But those stoppages have also become a serious part of the business of being Anthony Joshua, to the extent that he admitted his image and ‘value’ would be damaged if he doesn’t knock out Kubrat Pulev in his next assignment, on October 28 under the roof of the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.
Anthony Joshua (left) and Kubrat Pulev pose for photographs at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff ahead of their bout on October 28
Bulgarian Pulev was blunt about his chances, describing the prospect as ‘terrifying’
The pair met for the first time in a corporate box at the stadium on Monday, as a preamble to a fight that is expected to draw an indoor world-record attendance of 80,000. That Joshua is fetching those numbers supports the view that he generates the biggest aura of any heavyweight since Mike Tyson, but even in his own mind it would be a ‘failure’ if the crowd do not see him stop Pulev inside 12 rounds.
‘It is heavyweight boxing – you have to knock someone out,’ he said.
‘It is like with the Klitschko fight, we had to get him out. It is not the same going the distance. It is the excitement. You can’t leave it to the judges, you have to make the decision yourself.
Joshua will be the strong favourite in the Cardiff fight after beating Wladimir Klitschko
‘A knockout shows you are a puncher, that you are a force to be reckoned with and that your aura is intact. People always say, “This guy is tough, has never been knocked out before,” and then when I go and knock him out in three rounds, it adds value. That is why I like knocking people out. That is what the fans are there for. It is heavyweight boxing.’
While he will start as a heavy favourite against Pulev, it remains to be seen if he can force a stoppage against the credible Bulgarian, who is ranked as the mandatory challenger by the IBF and inside the top three by both the WBA and WBO.
His only defeat in 26 fights came via knockout against Wladimir Klitschko in 2014, which made it rather incongruous when a translator quoted the 36-year-old as saying he was ‘terrified’ of facing Joshua.
Pulev is ranked top with the IBF and in the top three with the WBC and WBO
Pulev did a better job of talking up his chances by outlining shortcomings in Joshua’s performance in his barnstormer against Klitschko in April. That win was exceptional value as a spectacle, but Joshua himself has been critical of his display, in which he was knocked down.
Pulev said: ‘Joshua has weaknesses. If Klitschko would have taken a risk (after flooring Joshua in the sixth) he could have won the fight.
‘For me, Joshua hasn’t got my experience. I started boxing when I was 12 years old. It is not just the ring where I am experienced. I have experience on the streets as well, which is another advantage.’
Fight promoter Eddie Hearn (right) looks on as Joshua speaks to the press on Monday
Joshua (left), pictured with Hearn and Pulev, said he is prepared to ‘go to war’ in order to win