By: Sean Crose
Bob Arum has been in the fight game for a long time. Now in his eighties, the veteran promoter is still going strong. Perhaps one of the two or three top players in the game, Arum currently has the man widely considered the king of the heavyweight division under his tent. Tyson Fury, who is represented by Arum and Frank Warren, soundly defeated Deontay Wilder in their highly hyped WBC title rematch last month. Not only does Fury now hold the prestigious green WBC strap, he is now recognized as the lineal heavyweight champion of the world (the man who beat the man who beat the man) as well.
Still, another English heavyweight, one Anthony Joshua, holds the vast majority of major heavyweight titles. That may all change, however, should Kubrat Pulev, another Arum fighter, best Joshua when the two meet for Joshua’s belts on June 20th at Tottenham Hostpur Stadium in Joshua’s native Britain. While Joshua is clearly the favorite walking in, an upset win would mean Arum fighters hold the WBA, IBF and WBO belts, as well as the WBC and lineal titles. What’s more, it would be easy for Arum to make an inhouse fight between Pulev and Fury for the undisputed heavyweight championship.
However, there’s the matter of Pulev having to face Joshua in the ring. At 23-1, the 30 year old Joshua recently came back from a stunning defeat at the gloved hands of Andy Ruiz. After being shocked by last minute replacement Ruiz last June in New York, the Londoner returned to win a December rematch against his former conqueror in Saudi Arabia, successfully regaining his title belts in the process. Joshua fought brilliantly in the rematch, earning the victory by boxing rather than engaging. The man essentially added to his repertoire.
What this means is that the 38 year old Pulev will be facing a Joshua who has added a few wrinkles to his game. After the Ruiz loss last year, it’s hard to believe Joshua will take Pulev, a long time contender who has already fought for a title once, lightly. Add in the fact that a big money battle with Fury (or Wilder) is on the line, and safe to say clear Joshua will be entering the ring at his best. Still, some feel Pulev has a chance to shock the world – with good reason.
Pulev’s only loss came to Wladimir Klitschko back in 2014. Since that time, the Bulgarian fighter has gone on to win eight in the row, topping the likes of Derek Chisora, Samuel Peters, and Hughie Fury. Although not known for being a knockout artist, the 28-1 Pulev is a skilled vet who probably realizes this is probably his last chance at heavyweight glory. Arum has expressed nothing but confidence in his man in the leadup to the fight. Perhaps he’s had good reason to.