BULGARIA’S Kubrat Pulev remained on course for a shot at IBF, WBA and WBO world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua with a 12-round decision victory over Hughie Fury tonight (October 27) in Sofia, Bulgaria. Scores of 117-111, 118-110 and 115-113 delivered Pulev the victory and few would argue with the result.
Pulev, a 37-year-old former world title challenger, had been set to fight Joshua last October, but an injury scuppered those plans and rendered him inactive for the best part of 18 months. Even so, he showed few signs of ring rust this evening, outboxing Fury on the front foot for much of the contest, and finishing strongly in the championship rounds.
Fury’s task, a difficult one going in, was made all the trickier when he picked up a cut over his left eyelid in round two. This made a natural counter-puncher have to force the action, hardly part of the pre-fight plan, but, to his credit, Fury, 24, responded positively in round three and then, in round eight, landed a solid right hand on Pulev, which unsettled the Bulgarian and had him looking momentarily disorganised.
Alas, it wasn’t enough. Pulev, the steadier of the two, and the far better technician, kept his punches straight and remained in control of the centre of the ring; where Fury, 21-2 (11), was wild and sloppy, ‘The Cobra’ was tight and compact, and it was this greater control that ultimately saw the former European heavyweight champion run out a comfortable winner on the three judges’ scorecards.
Now back in contention, Pulev, 26-1 (13), can look forward to a lucrative 2019.