Underestimate Kubrat Pulev at your peril.
That’s the message Hughie Fury has given to Anthony Joshua, who takes on the 39-year-old heavyweight in London on Saturday.
Joshua vs Pulev was originally scheduled for 2017, then in June but now it’s finally happeningMark Robinson/Matchroom
Joshua is back in action for the first time in over a year as he defends his heavyweight belts, with Pulev the IBF mandatory challenger.
‘AJ’ is very much the favourite to win the fight but his opponent boasts an impressive CV, having only lost once in his pro career and that was against Wladimir Klitschko.
Pulev has 28 victories to his name, one of them against Fury on points in October 2018. And the Stockport-native revealed to fans what Joshua can expect from the Bulgarian.
“He’ll give Joshua problems in the early rounds and then he doesn’t need to let him set behind his jab,” Fury told Sky Sports.
Pulev beat Fury on points by unanimous decisiongetty
“If he lets Pulev sit behind his jab, he’s going to have problems. Don’t let him get comfortable.”
However, Fury is backing Joshua, 31, to do the business as he has youth on his side.
“I think Pulev dies out in the later rounds. Obviously I had the cut and I was worn out after putting everything into the third round,” Fury added.
“In the eighth he started to slow down. His defence was more leaky and that’s when I was able to wobble him. But I didn’t have the energy to finish him.”
Former Manchester United and Tottenham footballer Dimitar Berbatov, who also hails from Bulgaria, echoed Fury’s warning to Joshua about not underestimating Pulev.
Berbatov also shed light on what it would mean for Bulgaria if Pulev was to pull off a shock on Saturday night.
“People in Bulgaria are getting excited ahead of this weekend’s fight between Anthony Joshua and Kubrat Pulev,” Berbatov told Betfair.
“It’s great to see that fans will be there, it’s a big moment for Pulev again because he had his chance in the past against Wladimir Klitschko, but now he has a second chance and hopefully he’s going to take it. This is probably the biggest ever fight for him and he will be well prepared.
This is Joshua’s 25th professional fightDave Thompson/Matchroom
“He can be the stone that trips Joshua up. I’ve read that Joshua is already planning his next fight and is looking to fight Tyson Fury. But Joshua should be careful of Pulev and shouldn’t underestimate him.
“If Pulev wins then it will be a great achievement. We’re a small country and we have never had a boxing heavyweight champion of the world. I bet that will be in his mind when he steps into the ring, but he should just put that aside and concentrate on the fight.
“The whole of Bulgaria is behind him and I believe he can cause an upset this weekend. I’m going to be watching and he has my support.