British boxer Anthony Joshua thus retains his IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO heavyweight world champion belts. He beat the Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev on Saturday 12 December in London by knockout on the ninth round.
Taller and more extended, and eight years younger than his opponent, Joshua dominated the bout from start to finish, much to the delight of the 1,000 spectators who had been admitted to the SSE Arena at Wembley, and which can usually accommodate 12,500 people.
This success also paves the way for a title reunification fight with the other British heavyweight champion, Tyson Fury, who holds the WBC belt.
“What matters is not the opponent. What matters is the legacy [that I will leave] and the belts. If it’s Tyson Fury who has it, my opponent is Tyson Fury, ” Joshua said at the microphone after his fight. The confrontation between “AJ” and the “King of the Gypsies”, Fury, undefeated in thirty-one fights, makes England and the world of boxing salivate.
A record of twenty-four victories
After a shy first round, Joshua placed a first acceleration on the third round, in which his opponent was counted twice, once on the ropes and again after going down.
The tough 39-year-old Bulgarian hung on and tried hard to place his powerful right. But he rarely touched Joshua, who took the initiative in the ninth round of the twelve in the fight. He sent his opponent to the ground after a series of punches, and when the referee sent Pulev back into the fight, “AJ” placed a straight line on his chin which immediately lengthened him for good.
Joshua, 31, has a record of twenty-four wins, including twenty-two before the limit, and just one loss.
Pulev, nicknamed “the Cobra”, suffered the second defeat of his career, for twenty-eight victories. His first loss was against Wladimir Klitschko, in his first and only world chance before this Saturday, six years ago.