Tyson Fury should revisit plans for a third fight with Deontay Wilder—or a first fight with any other available heavyweight contender.
So believes Bob Arum, Fury’s Hall of Fame promoter who insists that another one of his fighters will shake up the heavyweight picture this weekend. Kubrat Pulev is a longshot underdog to dethrone unified heavyweight titlist Anthony Joshua (23-1, 21KOs) this Saturday on the road at SSE Arena-Wembley. A win in that direction will leave Arum and Top Rank with full control of every major heavyweight title, with 2021 already being planned with that possibility in mind.
“I look for Pulev to not only beat Anthony Joshua but knock him out,” Arum insisted during Thursday’s final pre-fight press conference for this weekend’s heavyweight title fight. “Pulev is a big rugged Bulgarian. I really feel that Joshua is vulnerable and that Pulev will not only beat him but knock him out.”
Pulev (28-1, 14KOs) enters the fight riding an eight-fight win streak, including a 12-round unanimous decision over Hughie Fury—Tyson’s cousin—in October 2018 to become a mandatory title challenger. The 39-year old from Sofia, Bulgaria—who represented his home country in the 2008 Beijing Olympics—enters his second career title fight, having suffered a 5th round knockout to then lineal heavyweight champion Wladimir Klistchko for his lone career defeat in November 2014.
Saturday’s bout marks Pulev’s first in more than a year, having last appeared in the ring in a 10-round win over Rydell Booker last November in Fresno, California. In that time, Tyson Fury (30-0-1, 21KOs) has made his way to the top of the heavyweight mountain, claiming a 7th round stoppage of Deontay Wilder (42-1-1, 41KOs) to win the lineal championship this past February in Las Vegas.
With Fury’s win came a watershed moment for British boxing history, with all of the major titles residing in England for the first time in boxing history. There have been reported talks of Manchester’s Fury and Watford’s Joshua having agreed to terms for a blockbuster showdown in 2021, although lacking any substance beyond the spoken word of all parties involved.
There still exists the part where Joshua has to get past the first defense of his second run as a unified titlist, fighting for the first time since regaining the belts from Andy Ruiz last December in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia. Their rematch came six months after Ruiz shocked the world with a 7th round stoppage of Joshua at Madison Square Garden in New York City, to which Pulev’s team insists that history will repeat itself this weekend.
“I will greet this victory with the joy that comes to me,” insists Arum. “On the other hand, it will disappoint one of my other guys, WBC heavyweight ‘champeen’ Tyson Fury.
“I talked to Tyson, [Wednesday] in fact. We are already making plans for other [opponents]. Fury agrees with me that there is a great, great chance that Pulev is going to upset the apple cart and beat Joshua.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox