Anthony Joshua is still the unified heavyweight champion of the world following his 9th round stoppage of Kubrat Pulev. The two fought in front of 1000 people at the “SSE Arena” in London with the WBO, IBF, and WBA heavyweight belts on the line.
Bulgaria’s Pulev was the mandatory challenger with the IBF, but the younger Joshua was way too much for the 39-year-old Kubrat.
Joshua deserved the win, as he was the one dictating the pace of the fight and being the more aggressive and patient boxer.
The Brit started cautiously, having the reach advantage and his fast left jab. Although there were a lot of times the champion was forced to fight from his back foot, that didn’t bother him too much, as his punches were solid.
The third round got pretty ugly for the challenger and a lot of people thought that’s it. Pulev threw a jab, but Joshua timed him and countered him with a right hand. The Bulgarian got hooked and after a barrage of hooks, Pulev went to his corner and turned his back on Joshua and that left Deon Dwarte with no other option than to start counting.
Shortly after that, there was a second knockdown. The 31-year-old champ finished a nice combo of his own with a brutal uppercut to the head, but Pulev managed to beat the count and to continue fighting.
The middle rounds were a bit sloppy – a lot of clinches and rabbit punches. The challenger was starting to get a rhythm and landed some good right hands for the first time in the fight. Still, Joshua was the one getting the better from the exchanges, landing more and various shots.
The eighth round was by far the best for Pulev who did some good work with his left hook. Unfortunately for him, his age started showing up, as he was getting tired by the minute. It all came to an end in the ninth when the champion send Pulev to the canvas for the third time after some heavy uppercuts connected. Pulev was again able to beat the count, but then Joshua stomped him with a big right hand and that was all she wrote.
That was Joshua’s 24th pro win, while Kubrat Pulev has lost for a second time after his 2014 loss to Wladimir Klitschko.