By Rick Reeno
Bulgarian heavyweight Kubrat Pulev (17-0, 9KOs) is a man on a mission. On August 24th in Schwerin, Germany - Pulev will face veteran Tony Thompson (38-3, 26KOs) in an IBF final eliminator. The winner will receive a mandatory shot at IBF/WBO/WBA/IBO champion Wladimir Klitschko (60-3, 51KOs), who faces Pulev's stablemate, Alexander Povetkin, on October 5th.
Both of Thompson's career defeats were against Klitschko. During a recent appearance on ATG Radio, Wladimir picked Thompson to beat Pulev.
"I know Tony Thompson. He's very good and I was not at all surprised that he twice defeated the young contender David Price. Tony Thompson has been an extremely underrated fighter in recent years. He gave me two very difficult matches. I'm sure Tony Thompson can beat anyone in the top ten. And I think he will beat Kubrat Pulev," Wladimir said.
Pulev had a response to Wladimir.
"Wladimir better worry about his tough fight coming up against Povetkin. As far Thompson is concerned, I see that [Wladimir] is hoping that he doesn't have to fight me as the mandatory challenger. I plan to disappoint him by beating Tony Thompson first, and then when time comes I will deal with Wladimir in the ring," Pulev said in a statement to BoxingScene.com.