Kubrat Pulev, the IBF’s mandatory challenger, has made it clear that he will not entertain the possibility of taking a step-aside fee from British superstar Anthony Joshua.
The 39-year-old veteran from Bulgaria was scheduled to challenge Joshua for the WBA, IBF, IBO, WBO world titles on June 20 in London. The fight was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
There has been a lot of talk that Deontay Wilder should take a step-aside fee from WBC champion Tyson Fury - in order to set the immediate stage for a full unification between Fury and Joshua.
Wilder has also rejected the idea of taking a step-aside fee. But even if he wanted the money, Joshua would have to pay Pulev to step aside as well.
Pulev explains that he stepped aside once already, when he allowed Joshua and Andy Ruiz to have their December rematch.
This time around, he wants his mandatory title shot - with or without Joshua.
And the Bulgarian fighter says there is no discussion to be held over a step-aside scenario.
“I wouldn’t accept it,” said Pulev to Yahoo Sports. “I did it once when I didn’t have to do it for him (Joshua) to have his second match against Ruiz Jr. Everything was against IBF’s rules, but I compromised.”
“Enough is enough. I can’t understand why we are still postponing instead of fixing a date and venue and getting to work? I can’t wait to win this fight. I see how people are afraid of me and are trying to face someone else before me. That’s not how a real world champion should act.
“Even Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield are coming back to the game to show that they are real warriors, not like him. A year has passed, and they always have a reason to postpone, not to fight against me. There are two options. You either fight or vacate the title.”
Joshua and Pulev were scheduled to fight in October of 2017 at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium. Pulev withdrew with a shoulder injury suffered in training camp, and was later replaced by Carlos Takam.