Anthony Joshua warned Kubrat Pulev he faces “the real one” in Saturday’s world heavyweight title bout in London as the twosome nearly came to blows at the weigh-in. Former Olympic champion Joshua defends his IBF, WBA and WBO belts at Wembley Arena against the veteran Bulgarian in front of 1,000 fans because of coronavirus restrictions. The two men have been scheduled to fight twice before but both times the bout was once postponed — in 2017 Pulev was once injured and Covid-19 put paid to a deliberate fight in June.
But the 39-year-old, nicknamed “The Cobra”, boasts an impressive 28-1 record — his only defeat came in a world title fight against Wladimir Klitschko in 2014.
“Many years I’ve been in boxing and seen a lot fighters talk a large number of garbage, then they get smacked up,” Joshua told Sky Sports.
“I realize what he is like, I have studied him. He thinks he is a warrior. I said ‘don’t let the guys you’ve fought gas you up, you’re in with a real one now’.
“When people come in the ring with me they’re self-assured and then after a couple of rounds their soul gets destroyed. When I see that I will take them out.”
Pulev tipped the scales at 239 pounds (108 kilograms), six pounds lighter than before his final bout with Rydell Brooker in November 2019.
Joshua was once then roundly booed by Pulev’s entourage before he weighed in at 240 pounds, three pounds more than when he gained revenge on Andy Ruiz Jr in December 2019 to reclaim his titles.
A bump of their fists looked to be the end of a fiery weigh-in, only for Pulev to state: “The next day to come I show you buddy. I like you, respect you but the next day I show you because I am better than you.”
Much of the point of interest ahead of Saturday has been on a potential “Battle of Britain” between Tyson Fury and Joshua in 2021.
An agreement in precept for Joshua and WBC champion Fury to in the end go head-to-head has been in place since earlier this year.
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