HEAVYWEIGHTS be warned: you can’t just accuse Kubrat Pulev of giving you the swerve and expect to get away with it.
Pulev, the number one-ranked heavyweight according to the IBF, was apparently one of a few heavyweights who turned down the chance to fight Tyson Fury on September 14 and should therefore be blamed for the fact Otto Wallin then received the nod. With no other options available, Team Fury were left with no option for to choose the Swede. Or so the story goes.
This, however, is not strictly true, according to Pulev.
“Fury is using me and some other boxers that he knows are currently unavailable for different reasons just so he can get some PR,” said the Bulgarian. “A few years ago, Fury refused a fight with me and not because he wasn’t available like I am right now. He was available. He was just scared.”
Pulev, of course, became the IBF mandatory challenger when he defeated Tyson’s cousin, Hughie, via unanimous decision last October. He was then expected to challenge the winner of the IBF world heavyweight title fight between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz – presumed to be Joshua – in November of this year.
But then a couple of things happened. First, Pulev was embroiled in a kiss-gate scandal with an internet reporter, which led to a fine and a suspension. After that, Andy Ruiz scuppered any chance of Joshua vs. Pulev landing at Wembley Stadium by dramatically stopping Joshua in June.
Now the whole picture has changed.
“My first goal is to become a world champion,” continued Pulev, “not to just fight random unknown opponents like he’s (Fury) doing. Winning those belts are my main focus right now.
“Fury’s turn will come and, when it does, I will make him just as powerless as his cousin, who also used to talk a lot.”
Tim Tszyu, son of the great Kostya, is gunning for bigger and better fights after winning a one-sided 10-round decision over Dwight Ritchie in Sydney last week.
The IBF number 12-ranked middleweight likes the idea of facing either fellow Aussie Dennis Hogan, ranked at three by the WBO, or former IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook at some point in the near future.
“I think I’m ready for that next step, the next level,” Tszyu, 14-0 (10), told The Herald and Age. “I only want people who are in front of me in the rankings. I’m trying to climb the mountain and everything is up from here.
“Kell Brook would be a great fight. He fought ‘Triple G’ (Gennady Golovkin) so he is a real possibility. Dennis Hogan is rated in my division and he just fought for the world title. I’m ready for that level and I just need these guys to accept these fights.”
Tszyu added: “I’ve definitely proven myself in the last six to 12 months. I’ve made a name for myself and all of Australia is buzzing. People actual believe now: ‘He’s not just the son, he’s the real deal.’ It’s finally come to this stage and I’ve proven to everyone I am the best in Australia.”
Without wishing to make Tszyu.0 feel bad, his father, Kostya, faced Juan Laporte in just his fourth pro fight and Livingstone Bramble in his tenth, both of whom were former world champions. By fight number 14, meanwhile, Kostya was boxing for the IBF super-lightweight title against Jake Rodriguez.
It’s no wonder Tim wants to get a move on.