Kubrat Pulev will inflict another crushing defeat on Anthony Joshua – and then offer him a rematch, said the Bulgarian’s manager Ivaylo Gotsev.
Pulev is the IBF mandatory challenger for Joshua, who avenged his shock loss to Andy Ruiz Jr with a points victory in an immediate rematch in Saudi Arabia in December.
And Gotsev has suggested that Britain’s heavyweight star will again need a return bout after suffering another setback in his rescheduled world title fight with Pulev.
“Yeah, we’ll give it to him, just like he did with Ruiz, but I can assure one thing – Kubrat is going to be ready for the rematch as well,” Gotsev told Sky Sports.
The first fight against Ruiz he looked like a deer in the headlights and the second one he ran like a deer.
“He’s not going to let himself go like Ruiz did, for whatever reasons. I mean that wasn’t serious. Kubrat is a serious contender, he’s a No 1 contender, the mandatory contender. He got there by blood, sweat and tears, and he’s legitimate.
“He is the biggest fight of AJ’s career, right now, coming up.
“Once again, AJ did not impress in his last performance. The first fight against Ruiz he looked like a deer in the headlights and the second one he ran like a deer.
“They know this is a serious fight and quite honestly, Kubrat seems to think that AJ is very afraid of him and that’s why it’s taking so long. I happen to agree.”
Pulev’s promoter Bob Arum insists that Croatia remains a potential location for the fight, but Matchroom Boxing boss Eddie Hearn has maintained that his “absolute priority” is to deliver a homecoming clash for Joshua in the UK.
“I talked to Ivaylo Gotzev. He has a potential deal with Croatia,” Arum told Sky Sports.
“He had a conference call with the Croatians and with people in Eddie’s office to set it forth as a potential destination.
“We know Eddie and Joshua want the fight in the UK. Hopefully by September, you will be able to do fights in the UK with limited spectators.
“Eddie told me about the possibility of doing it at the Royal Albert Hall with 1,000 people. Well-spaced, serving a meal and drinks. Getting a gate by making it a prestigious ticket to have.”
The Pula Arena, a Roman amphitheater, had been identified as a possible venue for the Joshua-Pulev fight by Gotsev, who has put forward a date in September.
“The arena is so inviting in stature, such a noble site and we can recreate an amazing atmosphere, and have these two gladiators face each other,” said Gotsev.
“Kubrat is just excited to fight. He’s champing at the bit. He’s really hard to keep down any longer, because he wants this fight.”