By Keith Idec
At least Kubrat Pulev was honest.
Other than that, though, it’s nothing short of odd that the heavyweight contender admitted Monday during a press conference in Cardiff, Wales, that his upcoming fight against Anthony Joshua will be a “terrifying” experience. Bulgaria’s Pulev (25-1, 13 KOs) will challenge the unbeaten British knockout artist October 28 at Principality Stadium in Cardiff.
“I know the match will be terrifying, but physically I feel energized and mentally I am ready, and I have a good chance to win,” Pulev said throught a translator, according to multiple British media outlets.
The 36-year-old Pulev suffered his lone loss to former heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko (64-5, 53 KOs). Ukraine’s Klitschko knocked out Pulev in the fifth round of their November 2014 title fight in Hamburg, Germany.
The 27-year-old Joshua (19-0, 19 KOs) survived a knockdown and stopped Klitschko in the 11th round of an entertaining slugfest April 29 in London. That bout drew a capacity crowd of roughly 90,000 to Wembley Stadium.
They were expected to fight again November 11 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, but the 41-year-old Klitschko decided to retire. Joshua then turned toward Pulev, the mandatory challenger for his IBF heavyweight title.
“I was definitely looking forward to Klitschko,” Joshua said, referring to their rematch. “He’s retired and I wish him well. And my journey doesn’t stop, so this is the next step now, a mandatory challenger.
“I didn’t want to give up any of these belts. I worked very hard to be in this position, so here we are October 28.”
The 6-feet-6, 250-pound Joshua, a 2012 Olympic gold medalist from Watford, England, also owns the IBO and WBA heavyweight championships. The 6-feet-4, 255-pound Pulev has won five straight fights since Klitschko defeated him.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.