‘I Was Not Scared’- Kubrat Pulev Explains Why He Pulled Out Of Anthony Joshua Fight in 2017

Published 12/10/2020, 6:00 AM EST
CARDIFF, WALES – SEPTEMBER 11: Anthony Joshua (l) and Kubrat Pulev pictured head to head during a media opportunity ahead of their World Heavyweight title clash at Principality Stadium on September 11, 2017 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)


Kubrat Pulev and Anthony Joshua will be facing off this weekend for AJ’s WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, and IBO heavyweight titles. However, this isn’t the first time that the pair have been booked against each other. The pair were slated to face each other in 2017. Joshua was the titleholder even then and Pulev was the mandatory contender.

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However, Pulev ended up dropping out of the fight under contentious circumstances. Eddie Hearn said that Pulev’s camp had called him and informed him of a shoulder injury that prevented the duo from colliding. However, fans wondered whether the reason was real, with many suggesting that Pulev was scared to fight Joshua.

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Kubrat has openly addressed the 2017 booking and promised that he will go through with the fight this time. He said, “In 2017, I was not scared. Nothing. Just was a little problem. But now I am here and I promise the people, I promise the people.”

The fight in 2017 could have been one of the biggest matches of all time, with the pair selling out an 80,000 seater arena within the first week. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be, and Joshua faced Carlos Takam instead.

Kubrat Pulev: Can he actually upset AJ?

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The only man to beat Pulev in a boxing match (Wladimir Klitschko) retired years ago. However, Joshua has beaten Klitschko. When you put this matchup under the scanner, you can see that Pulev definitely has an up-hill climb in this fight.

CARDIFF, WALES – SEPTEMBER 11: Anthony Joshua (l) and Kubrat Pulev pictured during a media opportunity ahead of their World Heavyweight title clash at Principality Stadium on September 11, 2017 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

However, the one thing fans know about AJ is that he is prone to lapses. An example of the same was in his first fight against Andy Ruiz Jr. But that experience must have changed how he approaches the training camp. It also stands out as a rare exception in an illustrious career so far.

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Pulev does have the talent necessary to surprise Joshua again. While that will splash water on the Tyson Fury vs Anthony Joshua plans, Pulev won’t necessarily be bothered. He has been trying to break the championship barrier for a while, and maybe this is his last shot at it. Pulev will turn 40 years old in May 2021.

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Ishaan Bhattacharya

1510 articles

Ishaan Bhattacharya is an NBA, NCAA Basketball, and Combat Sports writer at EssentiallySports. Currently, Ishaan is pursuing a Post Graduate Degree in Journalism from Xavier's Institute of Communication. Previously, Ishaan has written for The Indian Express, The Quint, Sportskeeda, and WrestleClub.

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