By Keith Idec
Kubrat Pulev’s promoters hope to reach a deal soon with Eddie Hearn for a fight against Dillian Whyte this summer.
An IBF purse bid that had been scheduled for Thursday was postponed for one week to give them more time to work out a deal. Nisse Sauerland, one of Pulev’s promoters, told Sky Sports on Friday that July 28 has been discussed as a potential date for Whyte-Pulev and that London and somewhere in Pulev’s native Bulgaria are possible sites.
“Negotiations are still ongoing and it is a great fight,” Sauerland told Sky Sports. “Whyte did very well against Lucas Browne and although Kubrat has been inactive, it makes it very exciting. Hopefully, we can get the details [sorted] out and get it on. I expect it to happen and July 28 has been talked about as a potential date. Bulgaria is an option, but I like London and Kubrat would be happy to come back to the UK if it makes sense.”
The IBF ranks Pulev as its No. 2 contender to heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, two spots in front of London’s Whyte (23-1, 17 KOs). They would fight for the No. 1 spot in the IBF’s rankings and a shot at Joshua (21-0, 20 KOs).
The 37-year-old Pulev (25-1, 13 KOs) was supposed to challenge Joshua on October 28 in Cardiff, Wales.
Pulev withdrew from that fight less than two weeks in advance due to a shoulder injury. Joshua stopped Pulev’s replacement, Cameroon’s Carlos Takam, in the 10th round at a sold-out Principality Stadium.
Pulev’s lone loss came against 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.
The 6-feet-4, 250-pound Pulev hasn’t fought since defeating American Kevin Johnson (32-9-1, 16 KOs) by unanimous decision in a 12-rounder just over a year ago in Sofia, Bulgaria. He hopes a victory over Whyte will enable him to reschedule his shot at Joshua.
“I do want to fight with him,” Pulev said Thursday in a statement on his website, “and I think that he is the perfect opponent for me.”
The 30-year-old Whyte also is the WBC’s No. 1 contender for its champion, Deontay Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs).
Somehow, though, the WBC recently declared No. 2-ranked Dominic Breazeale (19-1, 17 KOs) as the mandatory challenger for Wilder’s title. The WBC instead ordered an elimination match between Whyte and fourth-ranked Luis Ortiz (28-1, 24 KOs, 2 NC), who was knocked out in the 10th round by Wilder on March 3 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Hearn, Whyte’s promoter, has filed an appeal with the WBC regarding its order for Whyte and Ortiz to fight for what the WBC called its second mandatory spot.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.