Eddie Hearn, English sports promoter for IBF, IBO, WBA, WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, comes out with a warning for Joshua’s mandatory challenger. He said Joshua, whom he calls AJ, looks “sensational” in the final weeks of training camp as he prepares to “absolutely destroy” Bulgarian boxer Kubrat Pulev.
Hearn was at the Sheffield training venue on Wednesday, where he saw a flash of Joshua’s destructive skills as his WBA, IBF and WBO title defense against Kubrat Pulev drawing closer on Saturday, December 12.
In 23 fights, 21 of which he won by knockout, Pulev’s only loss came at the hands of former Ukrainian heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko in 2014. Since then, he has defeated Derek Chisora and Hughie Fury and is working hard to prepare for the December Combat.
Hearn thinks he has no chance. He says Joshua intends to inflict a crushing defeat on his mandatory IBF challenger.
“I went to see him [AJ] yesterday, it looked absolutely sensational. It is moving very well. We know you’ve brought in a couple of new coaches with Rob McCracken at the helm.
“He’s learning, he’s hitting so hard, so hard, so fast. I think it will be a tough fight against Kubrat Pulev. I also think it will absolutely destroy it.
“I think he is going to break it, he is going to dissect him and he is going to punish him. I think you will see a statement. I don’t want to push him too hard, but I really do. That is what I think.
“AJ will always be a laid back and humble guy, but I really think that having seen the improvement he’s made, the spite in his shots, I think you’re going to get an exciting showing from Anthony Joshua.
The ultimate prize for Joshua will remain an undisputed world title fight against WBC champion Tyson Fury of Britain. The “Gypsy King” recently dropped plans for a homecoming clash with Agit Kabayel in December.
As plans head toward that showdown in early 2021, Hearn expressed some apprehension that is both cautious and optimistic. He admits that Joshua must first produce an explosive performance against Pulev, without the backing of a large crowd.
“I’m nervous, it’s behind closed doors, he [AJ] I’ve never experienced this before in the pros. He’s used to walking in front of 90,000, twenty meters from here [Wembley].
“This is a different kind of challenge, this is the litmus test before the big one.
“All he has to do is beat Kubrat Pulev and I really think he will do it with brilliant style and show everyone that he is the best heavyweight in the world.”