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Opinion

Assessing Anthony Joshua’s options

A closer look at the three men reportedly in the running to fight Anthony Joshua next

Kubrat Pulev

Age: 35

Record: 23-1 (12)

Last fight: w pts 12 Dereck Chisora

The Bulgarian brute was a standout amateur, claiming medals at World and European championships. Though he’s only had 24 paid fights, Pulev has been a professional since 2009 and amassed a decent chunk of experience.

In 2012 he knocked out both Alexander Ustinov and Alexander Dimitrenko before outpointing the wily Tony Thompson in 2013. A year later he found himself out of his depth against Wladimir Klitschko, pummelled inside five rounds.

He bounced back with low-level wins before outpointing Chisora in May, a win which saw him become European champion for a second time and shoot him up the IBF rankings.

That Joshua still holds an 100 per cent knockout ratio doesn’t bode well for someone who has floored four times by Klitschko. However, Pulev is a durable, solid operator with a great jab and a decent work rate.

Despite the loss to Wladimir, Pulev is still one of the world’s top five heavyweights and would be Joshua’s toughest foe to date by a country mile.

With his in-ring knowledge and world title ambitions, Pulev won’t go down without a fight and could force Joshua into the later rounds. Though he is 35, Pulev also knows how to pace himself in fights and can be economical in his work when required.

His win over Chisora does make him more marketable, but having fought almost exclusively in Germany Pulev is unlikely to move the needle with ‘casual’ fans of the sport.

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