Joshua vs Pulev: Kubrat Pulev challenges Anthony Joshua for the IBF, WBA, WBO, and IBO world heavyweight titles on Saturday 12 December 2020. The much-anticipated event will take place at the O2 Arena in London, United Kingdom. The Bulgarian challenger, Kubrat “The Cobra” Pulev, will travel to the British champion’s home soil to attempt to snatch the world heavyweight titles from AJ. Anthony Joshua has a tremendous record of 21 Knockouts in his path to 23 victories in his 24 bouts. Pulev has boxed more rounds than Joshua and is a more traditional boxer in nature. AJ would be thought of as the clear favorite before he tasted his first defeat against Andy Ruiz. That defeat against Ruiz, which is the only defeat in Joshua’s career, caused critics to question Joshua’s playing style.
Will the Ghost of his First Defeat Haunt Joshua?
Anthony Joshua, the current heavyweight champion, has won 23 of the 24 matches he played. Joshua is a knockout specialist whose 21 victories were knockouts. He was undefeated in his first 22 matches, maintaining a glorious form. Joshua is on his path to becoming one of the greatest British boxers of this decade. He is typically the aggressor in a fight. He dances around the ring and searches for the golden opportunity to knock his opponent out. The average winning period of Anthony Joshua is 4.2, a stunning record that reflects the knockout style of the current champion.
This aggressive strategy also leaves him on the edge of getting knocked out himself. This is precisely what happened in his fight against the Mexican-American Andy Ruiz. Ruiz defeated Joshua in the 7th round by a Technical Knockout. Ruiz, who was the underdog in the bout, scored four knockdowns against Joshua, including the two in the 7th round to finish him off. Joshua suffered his first defeat and acknowledged it with respect. He turned things around in the rematch to claim his titles back from Ruiz. In the comeback of the champion, Joshua demonstrated more patience. Joshua was defensively more aware than ever before, and behaved more like a traditional boxer. Many critics of Joshua praised him for his adapted strategy to overcome Ruiz. This time he won by Unanimous Decision, not his typical knockout special. A lot of changes have been signaled by the champion. So, the world wonders whether the ghost of the Ruiz blunder will come to haunt Joshua, or will he learn from his past to retain his titles against the formidable Kubrat Pulev.
Can Pulev Exploit Joshua’s Vulnerabilities?
Kubrat Pulev, the Bulgarian, has vowed to “expose” the weaknesses of Anthony Joshua to become world champion. After the high-flying Joshua was reminded that he was not untouchable, pundits and critics have questioned Anthony Joshua’s training focus and tactics in the ring. Joshua is criticized for spending the majority portion of his training on building muscle strength and muscular endurance, rather than refining his tactical weaknesses. This discussion was amplified after his defeat to Andy Ruiz, which Joshua attributes to his strategic failure himself. The world was shocked when Ruiz defeated someone with the physique of Joshua. Joshua’s physical prowess was shadowed by the speed, movement, and aggressive flair of Andy Ruiz. Pulev also will be looking to capitalize on the tactical deficiencies of Anthony Joshua. Joshua has shown improvement in his tactics when he defeated Ruiz in the rematch. Joshua improved his defensive moves tremendously. He wasn’t the typical bully that he is in the ring. AJ protected his guard throughout the match. Kubrat Pulev has claimed that AJ lacks the mental fortitude required to stay at the top level. He has vowed to exploit his vulnerabilities. Pulev has commented that Joshua doesn’t deserve to be on the level that he is now. He thinks the mental toughness required to hold on to the title is absent in AJ. Moreover, Pulev claims that the knockout style of Joshua also implies a lack of boxing rounds for the champion. AJ has turned this argument too by defeating Ruiz in a full 12-round battle.
Pulev is certainly going after the champion for glory. AJ is working hard on the physical and technical side of his game. The pundits are divided in opinion. The critics of Joshua are impressed with the improvement and improvisation Joshua showed in his last game again Andy Ruiz. On the other hand, Pulev enthusiasts believe that the time has come for Pulev to finally become the world champion. Whether the Bulgarian is able to do so, will be clarified on 12 December after the clash of the boxing titans.