Promoter Eddie Hearn says unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua is looking terrific in the gym and primed to annihilate mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev in London on December 12.
Bulgarian Pulev (28-1, 14 KOs) is standing in the way of a two-fight series between WBA Super, WBO and IBF title-holder Joshua and WBC king Tyson Fury in 2021.
But Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) is in optimum form according to Hearn, who watched the champion prepare in Sheffield for his mandatory assignment earlier this week.
“He looked absolutely sensational,” Hearn told Sky Sports. “He’s moving so well. We know he’s brought in a couple of new trainers with Rob McCracken leading the way. He’s learning, he’s punching so hard, so sharp, so fast. I think this is going to be a tough fight against Kubrat Pulev. I also think he is going to absolutely destroy him.
“I think he’s going to break him down, he’s going to dissect him, and he’s going to punish him. I think you’re going to see a statement. I don’t want to put too much pressure on him, but I really do. That’s what I think.
“AJ will always be a relaxed, humble guy, but I really believe having seen the improvement that he’s made, the spite in his punches, I think you’re going to get a thrilling display from Anthony Joshua.”
A Joshua victory should tee up a first mega-fight with Fury in April 2021 though Hearn admitted some apprehension, given the lack of fans in attendance and what’s at stake for his fighter against the seasoned Pulev.
“I’m nervous, it’s behind closed doors, he’s never experienced this before in the pros,” added Hearn. “He’s used to walking out in front of 90,000. This is a different kind of challenge, this is the acid test before the big one.
“All he’s got to do is beat Kubrat Pulev and I really believe he’s going to do it in brilliant style and prove to everyone he’s the best heavyweight in the world.”