By Keith Idec
Epic Sports & Entertainment has won another purse bid for the right to promote an IBF heavyweight title elimination match involving Kubrat Pulev.
The New York-based company out-bid Team Sauerland, Pulev’s promoter, to earn the right to promote Pulev’s fight against Jarrell Miller. Epic Sports & Entertainment’s winning bid was $2,111,111, more than twice the amount Team Sauerland bid ($1,000,010).
Epic Sports & Entertainment, with which longtime boxing attorney John Wirt is involved, surprisingly won an IBF purse bid last month to promote a Pulev-Dillian Whyte elimination match. Epic Sports & Entertainment bid $1,500,111 – more than Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing ($831,111), which promotes Whyte, and Team Sauerland ($801,305) to win that purse bid.
London’s Whyte (23-1, 17 KOs) instead decided to face former WBO champion Joseph Parker (24-1, 18 KOs) on July 28 at O2 Arena in London. Whyte’s decision initiated another purse bid for Pulev (25-1, 13 KOs), who’s ranked No. 2 by the IBF, to face the third-rated Miller (21-0-1, 18 KOs).
Brooklyn’s Miller is the IBF’s next available contender. He stands to make what would be a career-high $527,777.75, his 25 percent of the winning bid. Miller might not accept the fight if, as expected, Epic Sports & Entertainment takes it to Pulev’s native Bulgaria.
If they do fight, the Pulev-Miller winner would become the mandatory challenger for Anthony Joshua’s IBF title.
Pulev was scheduled to challenge Joshua on October 28 in Cardiff, Wales. The once-beaten contender withdrew from that fight less than two weeks in advance due to a shoulder injury.
England’s Joshua (21-0, 20 KOs) stopped Pulev’s replacement, Cameroon’s Carlos Takam, in the 10th round at a sold-out Principality Stadium.
The 6-feet-4, 250-pound Pulev has lost only to former champ Wladimir Klitschko (64-5, 53 KOs). The retired Klitschko stopped Pulev in the fifth round of their November 2014 championship match in Hamburg, Germany.
Pulev hasn’t fought since defeating American Kevin Johnson (32-9-1, 16 KOs) by unanimous decision in a 12-rounder in April 2017 in Sofia, Bulgaria. Miller most recently defeated France’s Johann Duhaupas (37-5, 24 KOs) by unanimous decision in a 12-rounder April 28 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.