There is a lot on the line when unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua defends his WBA Super, WBO and IBF crowns against Kubrat Pulev at the SSE Arena in Wembley on December 12.
A Joshua victory should pave the way for a titanic collision with WBC heavyweight king Tyson Fury in 2021, but boxing history is littered with proverbial banana skins where one slip or moment of complacency can have disastrous consequences. One need only look back at Joshua’s stunning seventh round loss to Andy Ruiz in June 2019.
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn admits to feeling anxious and naturally hopes his fighter safely negotiates the Pulev hurdle and the unseen enemy of the Coronavirus next week – with Krzysztof Glowacki yesterday testing positive for Covid-19 and withdrawing from a vacant WBO cruiserweight title fight against Lawrence Okolie on the undercard. The shadow of Joshua-Fury looms over all.
“We just want to get that fight made. But first things first, we’ve seen it before at Madison Square Garden with Andy Ruiz when we were talking about the [Deontay] Wilder fight. This is it. This is the last hurdle – Kubrat Pulev, December 12,” Hearn told Sky Sports.
“We’re all nervous, we’re all concerned because AJ is as well. He knows the pressure is on. He knows that all he has to do is beat Kubrat Pulev on December 12 and the Fury fight, the undisputed fight, will present itself.
“But it’s going to be a difficult fight. Pulev is a top contender, he has trained very hard. One defeat to [Wladimir] Klitschko, years and years ago. He has been undefeated for many years. Technically very good, great jab.
“AJ I think has got to not show him too much respect. Bust him up, beat him up, and knock him out. I think you’re going to see a devastating performance from the best heavyweight on the planet in Anthony Joshua.
“At this top level, these guys have Covid tests non-stop and it’s really fingers crossed at this stage,” continued Hearn. “Anthony Joshua, we believe might have had that illness many months ago, so hopefully that’s not even a possibility for him, but everyone is being so careful.
“Kubrat Pulev I believe arrives [Friday] evening. He has been tested throughout. Even I know when Anthony Joshua will be testing. I think he comes in Tuesday next week. It’s going to be sleepless nights, just waiting for results and just waiting to confirm that we can finish the year with a massive bang with AJ against Pulev.”