World heavyweight challenger Kubrat Pulev believes his title fight against Anthony Joshua will take place in London because he is “scared” to box elsewhere, and has called on him to hurry up and set a date following the return of boxing.
Joshua was due to defend the IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight title against the Bulgarin on 20 June, before the fight was first postponed until July before being delayed indefinitely.
Hopes for a fight to take place upon the sport’s return were scuppered when Joshua suffered a knee injury, which saw the 30-year-old appear at a Black Lives Matter protest in Watford on crutches, but Pulev has called on the Olympic champion to stop delaying the fight and agree a date to work towards.
Talks are ongoing between the two parties, with Pulev under the impression that the bout could take place at the start of December, though a venue will need to be agreed after the fight was initially due to be staged at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
"We have one heavyweight champion (Joshua) and he is too slow all the time to agree a date,” Pulev told the Betway Insider Blog.
“We understand the world pandemic and everything but I think we can fight this year and I prepare to do this - it does not matter where, which day, I’m ready, we are training and I wait for the date.
"5 December is what we’ve heard and I hear London is favourite to host.
"We think London because maybe he is scared and he wants to fight there. Normally we can fight anywhere in the world not only in London - but for me it’s no problem, I can fight anywhere. I’m ready, I'm hungry, and I know I am going to win."
He added: "It does not matter where it is, I’m ready - it’s just important to win. It doesn’t matter whether it’s on a boat, or in a stadium, in Europe, in the USA, or in Saudi Arabia, it doesn’t matter to me.
"This will be a win for my country as Bulgaria has never had a heavyweight champion of the world, this win will not only be for me but a win for all people from my country and I want to make them really happy."
Joshua was due to fight Pulev back in 2017, only for injury to rule the Bulgarian out of the fight and resulting in Carlos Takam taking his place. The Briton has only had four fights since that victory nearly three years ago, which includes the surprise defeat against Andy Ruiz and the subsequent rematch where Joshua claimed a points victory.
Having watched him closely since their initial bout was called off, Pulev believes that there are weaknesses with Joshua mentally that he will focus on exposing.
"He is a very good boxer for sure, a world champion... and he has had a lot of good fights. But I see a lot of problems in his style and his boxing and I think I can use every small opening and I can beat him,” Pulex said. “I do think he has a problem with psychology.
"I think the fight has the same ending as with Andy Ruiz. I know that I will surprise the whole world with this fight. I will show boxing fans across the world that Joshua will go down because we will be bringing war."
While waiting for their bout to be rescheduled, Pulev has seen Joshua commit to a two-fight agreement to meet Tyson Fury in 2021 - something that has left him insulted that he is already looking beyond their encounter. The 39-year-old hopes that as Joshua did against Ruiz, his desire to look at future contests will prove to be an unwelcome distraction come fight night.
He said: "This is also very arrogant. Talking about Fury because he doesn't think about my fight, like last time with Ruiz. But life showed him that this is very bad when someone does that. That’s why he will take his second knockout of his life. We will show him and the whole world.
"I’m now next in line for Fury and I think after AJ, I will fight with Tyson Fury because Joshua is going to lose and he does not think I’m a big problem - but I will show him really new things."