Anthony Joshua defends his WBA (Super), IBF, WBO and IBO world heavyweight titles against Kubrat Pulev in their rearranged fight at Wembley Arena on December 12. Will it be a glorious homecoming for AJ or can Pulev shock the world?
Anthony Joshua v Kubrat Pulev Betting Tips & Predictions
Since the fight was originally announced earlier this year we have heard that Pulev is a dangerous opponent for Joshua and that in the heavyweight division everything can change because of one big punch. We have also been reminded that Joshua has been wobbled several times, was dropped by Wladimir Klitschko and was floored no less than four times by Ruiz Jr. Me personally, I am not buying that chatter. Pulev has a knockout percentage below 50 percent, has stopped just two opponents in the last eight years and could not put away Kevin Johnson, who Joshua destroyed in two rounds early in his career.
This fight is Joshua’s to lose and the only way that happens is if he takes Pulev lightly. I do not see that happening at all because he had his ‘Lennox Lewis-Hasim Rahman’ moment last year when Ruiz Jr repeatedly dropped him on his backside and ripped those world titles away. Joshua showed in the rematch that he had learned many valuable lessons from that first fight and although it was not a sensational performance that people will want to watch in full on YouTube for years to come, it was an accomplished showing that gives me plenty of confidence to back Joshua here.
Of course he is the overwhelming favourite with the bookmakers, so the best way to back the champion for a successful defence is to head into the Round Betting markets. Pulev is not known for devastating punching power but Joshua still has to be careful, so I expect we will see him put on a boxing clinic during the first half of the fight as he stays out of trouble and picks Pulev apart at range. Then when the challenger begins to wear down, I expect Joshua to pour it on to finish the fight and send the hometown crowd home happy.
Joshua to win in Rounds 7-12 and Joshua to win in Rounds 7-8 are both very appealing options, and if you are looking for the bigger odds that come from selecting one round I suggest backing the champion to successfully defend his belts in the seventh. Three of his last nine victories have come in the seventh round, as did his defeat to Ruiz Jr, so perhaps on this night it will be a case of lucky number seven for Joshua and we can all go back to thinking about a huge domestic scrap with Tyson Fury in 2021.
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Anthony Joshua v Kubrat Pulev Betting Tips: Expert Predictions
Former world heavyweight champion David Haye talking to Sky Sports: “I definitely think it’s a good fight for AJ. [Pulev is a] big, Eastern-European guy who stands up straight, very tall, very strong and has only ever lost to Klitschko. And in that fight he had a good go against Klitschko. So he’s got the power to cause some issues for people. He’s a rough tough guy that AJ will need to be in his best form for, but, if he is, I think he wipes the floor with Pulev. I think he’s significantly better.”
Former world super-middleweight champion Chris Eubank Sr: talking to the Express: “There are a few important variables that are important in this fight. Firstly, the way each fighter internalises this pandemic is an issue on top of what the fighters already have to manage. So much already depends upon this fight; the COVID factor adds an extra dimension to what in isolation is always harrowing. All things being normal, AJ has the better boxing IQ as proven in his contest against Andy Ruiz Jr, in a rematch I couldn’t see him winning because I thought he would try to use his power. Instead, he used his boxing IQ and took the championship titles back in impressive boxing form. If all is normal then AJ is no doubt the favourite. But because nothing is normal in these peculiar times, I suspect Pulev might win this fight and if I were a betting man, which I’m not, that’s where my money would be.”
Heavyweight fighter Hughie Fury, who previously fought Pulev, talking to Sky Sports: “Pulev is a very difficult fighter. He’ll give Joshua problems in the early rounds and then he doesn’t need to let him set behind his jab. If he lets Pulev sit behind his jab, he’s going to have problems. 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 [against Pulev]. 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.”
Heavyweight title contender Dillian Whyte talking to Sky Bet: “You know what? It is a run-out for Joshua. He’s just had two hard fights back to back, emotionally more than physically. So [this is] smart business, the Pulev fight. Pulev is old now and he was never really great in his heyday. He [Joshua] is happy to take care of his mandatory duties. So it’s a keep-busy fight.”
Road To Anthony Joshua v Kubrat Pulev
2019 was a rollercoaster year for Anthony Joshua, one the world heavyweight champion will never forget. The former Olympic gold medallist began the year with a flawless 22-0 record that had seen him stop 21 opponents and collect four world title belts in the process, but he had never fought in the United States and it was widely felt like he had to make an impression on the American public before finally stepping inside the ring for a unification fight with then WBC champion Deontay Wilder.
Madison Square Garden in New York City would be the site for Joshua’s US debut and his opponent would be Jarrell Miller. ‘Big Baby’ had crossed back and forth between boxing and kickboxing over the years, but in 2015 he began to focus solely on the sweet science and the wins had begun to pile up, earning him a shot at WBA (Super), IBF, WBO and IBO champion Joshua. However, just weeks before the fight it was announced that Miller had failed a drug test, and that meant promoter Eddie Hearn had to scramble for a short-notice replacement. Andy Ruiz Jr was the man who stepped up to accept the challenge and the rest, as they say, was history.
Ruiz Jr stunning the boxing world as he overcame a knockdown, dropped Joshua four times and forced the referee to wave it off in the seventh round of the contest, becoming the first ever Mexican heavyweight champion in the process. His victory sent shockwaves through the sporting world – how had this ‘fat little Mexican guy’ managed to stop an unbeaten physical specimen like Joshua in such devastating fashion? Had the former champion been ill? Had he really been knocked out in sparring? The conspiracy theories flowed, but to his credit Joshua offered no excuses in the aftermath. He had not been ill. His camp had not been a disaster. And his ring entrance gear had not been too heavy. Joshua had simply been beaten by the better man on the night.
His response to that first career loss was emphatic. Ruiz Jr-Joshua 2 would take place in Saudia Arabia several months later and he exorcised the demons with a dominant win. Joshua had wisely slimmed down for the contest, having been criticised for being too muscular and too heavy for the first meeting, and instead of gambling by standing toe-to-toe with Ruiz Jr and embarking on a slugfest, he wisely used his reach and technique to stay out of trouble and pick apart his June conqueror. The only way that the win would have been more emphatic would have been if Joshua had taken Ruiz Jr out inside the distance, but he did not need to do that. This mission was all about regaining all of the belts and he did that. Now the question was, ‘what is next?’
Talk of a unification clash with Tyson Fury erupted after Fury dethroned Deontay Wilder for the WBC belt in February, but that was quickly washed away by the announcement that the ‘Bronze Bomber’ had invoked a rematch clause and that meant that Joshua’ promoter, Eddie Hearn, had to press on with setting up a bout with the IBF’s mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev. The 38-year-old Bulgarian, of course, had been set to challenge Joshua back in October 2017, but injury forced him to withdraw from the contest in the final couple of weeks before the bout was set to take place and he has been forced to wait for another shot at AJ since that date.
In the meantime Pulev has extended his win streak to eight fights. Upon his return from injury he bested Britain’s Hughie Fury over 12 rounds to get the nod from the judges, and he then knocked out Bogdan Dinu inside seven rounds before once again relying on the judges at ringside to hand him a unanimous decision over Rydell Booker in November of last year. But have those wins got him primed for a shot at the world heavyweight title and can he follow Ruiz Jr’s lead by causing a sensational upset on December 12?
Anthony Joshua v Kubrat Pulev Betting Tips: Fighter Predictions
Believe you me, there’s a lot more to see 💥 pic.twitter.com/T4u1LHmuNm
— Anthony Joshua (@anthonyjoshua) October 18, 2020
Anthony Joshua: “December 12 is the date and once again the Heavyweight belts go up in the air and it is my sole focus to make sure that come December 13 they are in their rightful place in the UK.”
Kubrat Pulev: “For a small country of Bulgaria to stand up for the Heavyweight Titles is a great accomplishment. This fight is for my late father and all Bulgarian’s around the world! I’m coming to London to seize the Heavyweight Championship of the World.”
Anthony Joshua v Kubrat Pulev FAQs
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What time is the AJ v Pulev Fight?
The main event is scheduled to take place after 22:00 GMT.
When is the Anthony Joshua v Kubrat Pulev Fight?
The fight will take place on December 12, 2020.
What is the venue for the Anthony Joshua v Kubrat Pulev Fight?
The fight will take place at Wembley, Arena in London, England.