IBF, WBA and IBO world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua will face Kubrat Pulev on October 28 in Cardiff at the Principality Stadium.
The announcement came on Tuesday after weeks of speculation surrounding the route AJ and Matchroom would have to take to make sure they fulfil all of their mandatory requirements.
With Luis Ortiz holding the WBA mandatory position, it was always going to be between Pulev and the Cuban southpaw, however, Pulev has been given the nod as he looks to claim world honours at the age of 36.
Writing on Facebook, Pulev expressed his confidence coming into this fight (translated from Bulgarian) –
“Anthony Joshua is a great competitor. There won’t be much hugs we’ll just box. Anthony Joshua is a great and dangerous rival. But his style fits perfectly on mine. Boxing styles dictate the meeting between them. In this battle, there won’t be much hugs, there will be strong boxing… my preparations are very intense for the short time I have. I’ll be completely ready when I get in the ring so he doesn’t stand a chance against me”.
With just one loss on his record to Wladimir Klitschko in 2014, Pulev comes into this fight off the back of five wins, including a split decision win over Dereck Chisora last year. Despite lacking a big win since his debut in 2009, ‘The Cobra’ has proved he has power and will be confident in landing a Klitschko-esque right hand to shock the heavyweight division.
With Klitschko announcing his retirement from boxing last month, Joshua’s path became clear, albeit underwhelming. With Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury the only two real mega-fights for AJ to chase in the next few years it’ll simply be a case of ticking off the list of contenders in the shape of mandatory defences.
In an ideal world, Joshua will fight Pulev in October, Ortiz in March and then Wilder in the summer of 2018, however, nothing is ever simple in the world of boxing politics and you can imagine a few hurdles to be put in the way of Anthony Joshua.
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