Anthony Joshua: I’m Up for the Challenge
In his last bout, a rematch with Andy “The Destroyer” Ruiz Jr (33-2, 22 KO’s), Anthony “AJ” Joshua (23-1, 21 KO’s) was grateful to recapture his quartet of world titles. Now that the recently re-crowned unified champion has his hardware back, he is ready to get back to securing devastating knockouts. Joshua will attempt to get back to his destructive ways on June 20 against Kubrat “The Cobra” Pulev (28-1, 14 KO’s).
THE DUTIES OF A CHAMPION
As the most belt-carrying champion in the division, Joshua is well aware of the many obligations that come with those titles. First and foremost, AJ understands that there will always be some sort of mandatory challenger to contend with. This time around, the UK superstar is being required to settle up with Pulev, who is Joshua’s IBF mandatory.
If given the choice, AJ would much rather try to go for undisputed in a prizefight with WBC world heavyweight champion Tyson “The Gypsy King” Fury (30-0-1, 21 KO’s). Trouble is, not only does AJ have the Cobra to tame first, Fury is tied up in his own trilogy bout with Wilder. So having resigned himself to the reality of the day, Joshua is all set mentally and physically to contend with Pulev.
“Yeah, mandatory challenger, the responsibilities of being the newly crowned heavyweight champion of the world. I’ve got to follow the duties and if I don’t then I will be stripped of my title, which I don’t want to be. I fought so hard to get them. So, I’m up for the challenge! Good luck to him and I’ll be looking to keep my titles in London.”
EXPECT A KNOCKOUT
Each fighter, both Pulev and Joshua, have only one loss apiece blemishing their otherwise flawless professional resumes. In each instance, the fighters lost by way of stoppage. When going in against one another, both men are adamant that they have the power and skill to stop the other. Not only do they believe that they can do damage, both heavy-hitters are going in with the intention to concuss the other.
Having only just regained his championship status in his last bout, Joshua is painfully aware of how easily he could lose all his belts again. Although rather than let it stress him out, AJ is attempting to use the pressure as invigorating motivation.
“[Pulev’s] been in the game a while. He went to the top level and then he got defeated, so he knows his way around the ring. He’s had his chance at the top level and now he’s coming back again, so he’s probably going to try to get it right.”
“So I’ll be expecting a more polished, smarter Pulev. And he can bang a bit as well, he’s got a few knockouts on his record as well. He can bang and he can box, so he’s a boxer-puncher. Kind of like what style is as well, so it’ll be a good match-up for sure. So we’re going to box, people are going to be seeing some skills and they’re probably going to see a knockout as well because you got two boxer-punchers.”
By: Bakari Simpson