Coach Ulli Wegner says Kubrat Pulev (23-1, 12 KOs) must 'keep his cool' during his historic homecoming fight with former World Champion Samuel Peter (35-5, 29 KOs) on December 3 at the Arena Armeec in Sofia.
Pulev, a national hero in his native Bulgaria, will be fighting at home for the first time in his seven year career when he meets Peter for the vacant WBA Intercontinental title.
Wegner, who will be in the 35 year-old’s corner for a fourth time following victories over George Arias, Maurice Harris and most recently Dereck Chisora, has shared his thoughts on the match-up including a few words of warning for the current European Champion.
Q: How have your preparations been going for this fight?
''Our preparations have been going well. I am very satisfied with Kubrat’s level of fitness and his tactical approach for this bout. He has been listening carefully to what I have to say and working hard to turn my words into action.''
Q: What do you think of his opponent Samuel Peter?
''Peter is a former World Champion and was once the most feared heavyweight on the planet. I believe he is a dangerous test for any fighter in the division.''
Q: What must Kubrat Pulev do to ensure victory on December 3?
''This will be Kubrat’s first fight at home so it’s important he keeps his cool. He must concentrate on doing his job in the ring and not allow himself to be distracted. Keeping your focus in front of a partisan crowd is not something you can take lightly. Peter is accustomed to such fights, but for Kubrat, this will be a new experience. I know he will want to impress in front of his home fans but we need to balance risk and reward. He must break Peter down step-by-step, and not rush in.''
Q: What strengths does Peter possess that Pulev must be wary of?
''Peter’s greatest strengths are his punching power and his experience. Kubrat wants to climb to where Peter has already been. I have told him to be respectful and trust in his own skill set, and while Kubrat might be the better fighter on paper, one punch can change everything in the heavyweight division.''
Q: Are you looking forward to visiting Bulgaria?
''Of course, I love Bulgaria! I cannot count how often I’ve been there in the amateur ranks. Although, one occasion sticks out the most, in 1989, I participated in my last big international tournament in Albena with three of my fighters winning gold, best fighter and the best team award. Back in the day, training amateurs for such rigorous tournaments was hard work, and to be successful was even harder, but now coming back to Bulgaria with one of their own fighters, looks to be even more challenging.''
Q: Finally, do you believe Pulev is ready for a second World title fight?
''That question, I will answer after December 3!''
Kubrat Pulev faces Samuel Peter for the WBA Intercontinental Heavyweight title on December 3 at the Arena Armeec in Sofia. Tickets are available via www.eventim.bg.