By dailymailsport for Lolwe digital
Anthony Joshua has been sent a stern warning by his next opponent Kubrat Pulev, who has vowed to beat him ‘brutally’ when the pair eventually square off in the ring.
The Bulgarian fighter claimed Joshua was afraid of him, promised to rip his world titles away from him and derail his hopes of an undisputed fight against Tyson Fury.
Joshua was set to face the Bulgarian, his mandatory challenger for his IBF belt, at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on June 20, but the bout has now been pushed back due to coronavirus fears with no new date given.
Both fighters are still working hard in the gym as they await news on their showdown, and the pandemic hasn’t stopped Pulev from setting his sights on Joshua as he took the opportunity to lay into the two-time world champion.
Speaking with Sky Sports, he criticised the 31-year-old for seeking London as the location for the fight and claimed the Brit was scared.
‘I think it is obvious – because he’s afraid,’ he said when asked why he thought Joshua wanted home advantage. ‘I don’t see any other reason. Why should it be in London? Why the fight can’t take place in any other place? You answer this!
‘We offered various destinations – from Istanbul to Las Vegas, New York or Saudi Arabia. And then I got the reply that Joshua would come up against me only in London. I never asked for the fight to be in Sofia.
‘Picking a certain destination is for cowards. For those who prefer to talk a lot rather than act.’
Pulev has added experience on AJ and believes his superior skills will be key in defeating him. ‘I’m way more precise than him as well as a much smarter boxer,’ he said. ‘And I will beat him. Brutally.’
Joshua is hoping to see off the challenge of Pulev and move on to face Fury – who will fight Deontay Wilder next to wrap up their trilogy.
But Pulev says the Watford-born fighter can forget about the undisputed all-British bout with the Gypsy King and feels he will ruin plans for the mega fight.
‘He can’t face Fury because he has signed a contract to fight me. Besides, in this same contract there are clauses featuring some serious compensations [if the fight doesn’t happen]. In the meantime, Fury has a contract for a third fight with Deontay Wilder. Neither me, nor Wilder will give up on these fights.
‘No matter how much Eddie Hearn tries to manoeuvre things and play his little games, I will come up against Joshua and I will beat him! It’s written in the stars!’
With the world of boxing closed down for the meantime during the pandemic, staying motivated could become a struggle with neither fighter knowing when it will be safe for the contest to take place.
But Pulev has brushed off fears about the future of the fight – and even admits he would face Joshua behind closed doors if he had to.
‘I don’t have such concerns. Even if the fight has to take place behind closed doors, it will still be a very interesting event. Yes, we had to postpone it a bit but I don’t think that it will take too long before we meet in the ring.
‘We have a signed contract which is the reason I strongly believe there will be a fight before the end of the year. I’m more than certain it will be an exciting clash that will show the world who’s the better boxer.’