By: Hans Themistode
Not even COVID-19 can stop current unified Heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua from perfecting his craft. The 30 year old Joshua has been able to keep himself in shape during this mostly worldwide quarantine, and for good reason.
Whenever health experts deem it safe enough to return to the ring, Joshua will have IBF mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev awaiting him. On paper, Pulev (28-1, 14 KOs) seems like a solid test for Joshua. Since losing in his first crack at a world title to Wladimir Klitschko in 2014, Pulev has won eight straight. The wins have been against quality names such as Hughie Fury, Kevin Johnson and most notably, Dereck Chisora.
In short, Pulev has earned his shot at a title. But with that being said, Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) doesn’t seem to be concerned in the slightest. In fact, you could say that he already has his eyes set on a unification contest with Tyson Fury.
“It’s in a way overlooking Pulev, but I’ve gotta look through Pulev because I’m gonna walk through Pulev,” Joshua said in reference to his IBF mandatory challenger and upcoming opponent. “That’s the mindset. I’ve gotta walk through him. When it comes to Pulev, he ain’t on my level. I want the boys at the top. I ain’t worried about the boys, you know, around me. I’m walking through them all, and that’s the mindset that we have to have as fighters.”
Pulev is nothing more than a blimp on the radar. At least according to Joshua. And while he could take it as a sign of disrespect, Pulev is simply being treated as everyone else in the division.
“I’m looking at Tyson Fury like I’m gonna walk through him as well, because I had my issue last year, I got through it and I wanna correct it. And I told you like people don’t know what that does for a fighter mentally, when he loses in front of the world, and what it takes to come back. And, you know, having this time to reflect has been a blessing in disguise. It’s been a blessing in disguise, so we’ll see what the future holds. When Fury and Wilder’s ready, I’ll tell you this, I will not turn down that offer.”