Unified world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua admitted that if he was in Kubrat Pulev shoes, he wouldn’t step aside either to allow an all-time British fight between Joshua and Tyson Fury.
Bulgaria’s number one boxer is the mandatory challenger for Joshua’s IBF world title and he’s the one who is supposed to face ‘AJ’ next. The fight had to take place this summer in London, but unfortunately got canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The Cobra” had to face Joshua back in 2017 in Cardiff, but the Bulgarian suffered an injury that forced him to pull out of the fight just a couple of weeks prior to it.
“If I’m gonna be honest, if I was the same as Pulev, I wouldn’t step aside, either,” Joshua told IFL TV for an interview that appeared recently on its YouTube channel. “So, Pulev’s entitled to do exactly what he wants. He’s in a position to fight me. So, if he wants the opportunity to fight, he sticks to his guns. But if he wants to see, you know, the two world champions in Great Britain clash, then step aside. But that’s the only option.
“If he wants to fight me and he’s confident, come get this work. Or if you would rather sit back and watch what happens with me and Tyson Fury, that option’s there as well. But if I’m honest with you, my negotiations with Pulev were a bit different. I think [Fury] has a lot of things he needs to sort out with Deontay Wilder.”
Joshua, who also owns the WBA, WBO, and IBO titles, won’t relinquish his IBF belt so that he doesn’t have to oppose Pulev.
“Why am I hanging on with Pulev?,” Joshua responded to a question about why he just doesn’t skip the Pulev fight. “Yeah so, there are five belts. IBO, IBF, WBA, WBO, they belong to me. Tyson Fury has the WBC. So, each of these governing bodies, so they have a ranking. So, let’s one to 10, one to 10, one to 10. And in the IBF, Pulev is number one, and that is the next belt I have to defend, the IBF. So, that’s why Pulev [is next].
“If I don’t defend it against Pulev, then the mandatory position will be removed from me, and then Pulev fights [someone else for the IBF title]. And do you know who the next mandatory challenger is? Charles Martin. That’s the guy I actually won the belt from. So, if I don’t fight and defend my belt [against Pulev], then it will be Kubrat Pulev and Charles Martin that fight. And these are like obligations that you have to follow as a champion.”