Pulev sizes up Joshua, reflects on Klitschko defeat

There are just over two weeks to go until Anthony Joshua makes his highly anticipated return to the ring, to defend his IBF, IBO & WBA (Super) unified World Heavyweight Championship. The man who is daring to step inside the squared circle with ‘AJ’, Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev has been paid little heed ahead of the matchup, but he appears in buoyant and confident mood ahead of their date at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.

Speaking exclusively to Sky Sports, Pulev revealed his focus and the depths of his preparation ahead of the Joshua fight. “I watch Joshua more than I do any other boxer”. Pulev revealed and then shared his belief that he has a firm understanding of Joshua’s strengths and weaknesses when he went on to explain “I see what he does well and see what he does badly – I study him”.

Pulev also touched on his personal and career development over the recent years of his career too, explaining he has learned a lot and will continue to look for avenues to better his career as he stated “Everyone must learn more, whether it’s myself, ‘AJ’ or anyone else. When one man says that he knows everything, he is lying” and Pulev further elaborated on that point by explaining that Joshua is “far from the finished article”.

Another topic that Pulev touched on, was to reflect on his unsuccessful attempt at the World Heavyweight Championship in 2014, when the title was held by the former long-term title holder, ‘Dr. Steelhammer’ Wladimir Klitschko. ‘The Cobra’ was sent to the canvas multiple times before being rendered unconscious from a destructive left hook in the 5th round. Looking back, Pulev said “I don’t just say I learnt this or that from the Klitschko fight. I learnt many things.” Pulev was intent that the loss he suffered at the hands of Klitschko has left him in better stead going forwards explaining “From one loss, a man learns more than when he wins. When you win you think you are the number one and nothing more is needed. A loss makes you do more and more”.

Furthermore, Pulev also shared his view that he feels this opportunity against Joshua has come at the right time, as opposed to Klitschko who Pulev now acknowledges in hindsight was an opportunity that came too soon “I see now that I was not ready for Klitschko, maybe I was too young, but now my preparation is much better, I feel stronger and I am ready.”

Lastly, Pulev also reflected on the monumental heavyweight championship clash between Joshua and Klitschko in April of this year, where ‘AJ’ succeeded where Pulev failed as he climbed off the floor during the mid rounds and recuperated to secure a late stoppage in the 11th round. Pulev believes Wladimir’s arrogance and ego made it so he didn’t view Joshua as a serious threat. “When Klitschko fought ‘AJ’ it was 50/50, but he did not prepare properly. He thought he would beat Joshua no problem” Pulev analysed.