Pulev, Fury Return to the Ring for Possible Shot at Champion Joshua

Pulev, Fury Return to the Ring for Possible Shot at Champion Joshua

Boxers Kubrat Pulev and Hughie Fury step into the boxing ring this weekend, attempting to possibly secure a future title shot at heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua.

Updated: Oct. 24, 2018 • 7:55 PM ET

Sofia, Bulgaria will host this weekend's boxing match between Kubrat Pulev and Hughie Fury.

Kubrat Pulev and Hughie Fury will return to the ring on October 27 in Pulev’s hometown of Sofia, Bulgaria for an IBF heavyweight title eliminator. The winner of the fight will clamor for a shot at current champion Anthony Joshua and their spot among current heavyweight champions.

Pulev was originally scheduled to fight Joshua last October, but a shoulder injury forced him to withdraw from the fight. He has since faced and defeated Kevin Johnson by unanimous decision in April, landing him in another position to possibly challenge Joshua for the IBF belt. The 37-year-old Pulev will have the added benefit of fighting in his hometown, making it hard for Fury to walk away with an easy decision.

Pulev’s lone loss occurred in 2014 to the recently retired and future Hall of Famer Wladimir Klitschko by fifth round knockout. Other than that loss, Pulev has been perfect, scoring victories against fighters such as Tony Thompson, Samuel Peter, Alexander Dimitrenko, Dereck Chisora and Alexander Ustinov.

Pulev has displayed power at times and of his 25 wins, 13 are by knockout. He’ll have a tough test trying to keep up with the younger and quicker Fury and has to avoid getting frustrated by Fury’s tendency to rely on the clinch to get out of dangerous situations.

Pulev, however, is more than ready for whatever Fury brings on Saturday.

“The fact that Hughie Fury is coming to Bulgaria when many others ran away speaks volumes,” Pulev said via boxinginsider.com. “I understand that he is very motivated because this is an eliminator fight for a chance at the world title. I suggest he stops thinking about the world title for a moment and come prepared for a real battle. I am already in beast mode and I’m hungry for my return in the ring!”

Fury, still only 24 years old, is the cousin of former champion Tyson Fury and widely considered to be the future of the heavyweight division. Fury challenged for the WBO title in September 2017 against then champion Joseph Parker, but he lost by majority decision in a less than entertaining fight.

The loss to Parker was Fury’s first, and it provided the idea that he wasn’t ready for the big moment, as he looked timid and unable to put anything together against the champion. In his five-year career, Fury has taken a calculated approach to each fight, taking minimal chances that have brought doubts about his championship pedigree. If he wants to be a champion Fury won’t be able to fight the same way against the current title holders.

Fury followed the loss to Parker with a fifth-round TKO of Sam Sexton in May. Parker was a step up in competition for Fury, and Pulev will represent the same kind of step. Fury will have the disadvantage of fighting in Bulgaria, so he’ll need to be more aggressive and own more of the spectacular moments in the fight.

Fury, though, isn’t bothered by the disadvantage.

“He’s tough, very experienced,” Fury said via The Guardian. “He doesn’t really like to come out of his back garden, so people don’t like to go there. It doesn’t bother me where the fight’s at, or who it’s against. It’s a fight.”

 

• All fights on the main card can be seen on ESPN + on Saturday, October 27 at 4 p.m. ET.

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