Anthony Joshua dominated and then floored mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev to score a ninth-round knockout and retain his IBF, WBA, WBO & IBO Heavyweight World Titles at The SSE Arena, Wembley on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and Ireland and on DAZN in the U.S. and more than 200 countries and territories on its just-launched Global platform.
With 1,000 ticket-buying fans allowed into the building for the first time at a British fight since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Joshua’s entrance was met by a huge roar from the crowd.
Joshua floored Pulev heavily on three occasions, twice in the final round, and ended the fight with a vicious right hand. The explosive performance from Joshua would have demanded the attention of WBC ruler Tyson Fury – they remain on a collision course to decide an Undisputed Champion in 2021.
Joshua told Sky Sports afterwards: “I started this game in 2013. I’ve been chasing all the belts. I’ve been dealing with mandatories.
“Of course I want the challenge. It’s not about the opponent, it’s about the legacy and the belt. Whoever has got the belt, I would love to compete with them. If that is Tyson Fury, let it be Tyson Fury. It’s no big deal.
“It’s one fight at a time, picking them off one by one. That’s all it’s about for me. I’ve got to stay focused.”
“There’s been a lot of talk,” Eddie Hearn told Sky Sports. “As he said, it’s less talk, more action. Since he came into the office, he wanted to be the Undisputed Champion of the World.
“We’re going to be friendly, we’re going to be nice. We know what we have to do. Starting from tomorrow, we make the Tyson Fury fight straight away.
“It’s the only fight to be made in boxing. It’s the biggest fight in boxing. It’s the biggest fight in British boxing history.”
Credit: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing
Kubrat Pulev is supremely confident of derailing plans for the biggest fight in boxing – an all-British Undisputed Heavyweight World Title showdown between IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO ruler Anthony Joshua and undefeated WBC king Tyson Fury.
The former World Title challenger (28-1, 14 KOs) arrived in London over the weekend ahead of his second shot at world honours at The SSE Arena, Wembley this Saturday, shown live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and Ireland and on DAZN in the U.S. and more than 200 countries and territories on its just-launched Global platform.
Bulgaria’s Pulev says he can see himself exposing the flaws of Joshua in the same manner as Andy Ruiz, who famously dropped the superstar four times on route to a shock seventh round stoppage win at Madison Square Garden in June 2019.
“We see a lot of mistakes from Anthony,” said Pulev. “A lot of bad sides to him. I think these mistakes, and the bad sides, stay. The most important thing is how I perform on Saturday night. When I am good, I beat him well. Right now I feel very good, strong and powerful. I am very strong heading into this fight.
“We will see how Joshua performs. I don’t know what to expect from him. It doesn’t matter to me. For me it’s only important what I do in the ring and how I prepare. How is my strategy? How is my boxing? This is what is important. I will perform very differently because I have a lot of experience from the Klitschko fight. I will be a new Kubrat Pulev.
“This fight is not only for me. This fight isn’t just for boxing. It is for all of Bulgaria. Nobody from my country has ever been Heavyweight Champion of the World. That’s why it will be so good for my country and my people. Bulgarian fans will be really happy.
“This was my late father’s dream. That is why me and my brother are here. His project was to have sons, and for them to become boxing champions. And we are now real, this is now fact. He looks down from above and I’m sure he’s happy. He wants to win on Saturday night with me.
“I feel healthy and happy. I have a lot of energy. After the fight and after the win, I will be really happy. I think after this fight I’m going to fight with Tyson Fury. It will be good. I don’t believe that the Joshua vs. Fury fight is going to happen because I will win on Saturday night. I think the world needs a new World Champion like me. I am the new World Champion. I am coming.”
Joshua vs. Pulev tops a huge night of action in London, Hackney Cruiserweight star Lawrence Okolie (14-0, 11 KOs) takes on Poland’s undefeated Nikodem Jezewski (19-0-1, 9 KOs), Manchester Heavyweight contender Hughie Fury (24-3, 14 KOs) returns against Poland’s Mariusz Wach (36-6, 19 KOs), Martin Bakole (15-1, 12 KOs) and Sergey Kuzmin (15-1, 11 KOs) fight for the vacant WBC International Heavyweight Title, Northampton Super-Welterweight Kieron Conway (15-1-1, 3 KOs) clashes with Wythenshawe’s Macaulay McGowen (14-1-1, 3 KOs) over ten rounds, London-based Albanian Welterweight sensation Florian Marku (7-0, 5 KOs) makes his keenly anticipated Matchroom debut in an eight round contest with Derby’s Alex Fearon (9-2) and Leeds Super-Bantamweight Qais Ashfaq (8-1, 3 KOs) looks to return to winning ways against Ashley Lane (14-9-2, 1 KO)
UFC star Khabib Nurmagomedov says he wants to see former Undisputed Cruiserweight World Champion Oleksandr Usyk take on WBC Heavyweight ruler Tyson Fury.
Dana White hailed Russia’s Nurmagomedov as the ‘GOAT’ and pound-for-pound best after he sensationally retired following his second-round stoppage of Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 in Abu Dhabi.
The undefeated Lightweight World Champion is a long-time fan of boxing, and was even spotted ringside for Anthony Joshua’s huge rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr in Saudi Arabia last year, but it is Ukraine’s Usyk he wants to see share the ring with ‘The Gypsy King’, not ‘AJ’.
When asked for his assessment of the sport, prior to Vasiliy Lomachenko’s loss to Teofimo Lopez in Las Vegas, Khabib told reporters: “Right now, I think three guys. Oleksandr Usyk, Vasiliy Lomachenko and Canelo Alvarez.
“Oh sorry, Tyson Fury too. Four guys. It’s very hard [to decide] who is the best.
“I really want to see Usyk vs Fury. It’s gonna be a very good fight. He [Usyk] has very good skill and technique, Tyson Fury too.
“He is not like other Heavyweights, more technique, his footwork is very good, his conditioning is very good, I really wanna watch Usyk against Fury.”
Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs) sits as WBO Mandatory Challenger to Joshua, but must first deal with an in-form Derek Chisora at The SSE Arena Wembley on Saturday, shown live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and DAZN in all of its nine markets including the U.S.
Usyk vs. Chisora tops a huge night of action, Lee Selby (28-2, 9 KOs) and George Kambosos Jr (18-0, 10 KOs) meet in a Final Eliminator for the IBF Lightweight World Title, Heavyweight fan favourite Dave Allen (18-5-2, 15 KOs) returns against America’s KO artist Christopher Lovejoy (19-0, 19 KOs), Hartlepool’s Savannah Marshall (8-0, 6 KOs) takes on Glasgow’s Hannah Rankin (9-4, 2 KOs) for the vacant WBO Middleweight World Title, Belfast’s Tommy McCarthy (16-2, 8 KOs) meets Belgium’s Bilal Laggoune (25-1-2, 14 KOs) for the vacant European Cruiserweight Title and Amy Timlin (4-0) faces off with Carly Skelly (3-0) for the vacant Commonwealth Super-Bantamweight Title.
Heavyweight contender Dillian Whyte(27-0, 18 KOs) will be making his first appearance in the ring in 2020 on Saturday, and after seeing him on the scale today, it appears he is in shape. Whyte weighed in at 252.6 pounds for his upcoming battle with Alexander Povetkin. The last time we saw Whyte, he came in at career-high 271 pounds for his victory over Mariusz Wach back in December.
“I had two fights last year, but my mind wasn’t right,” Whyte said on Thursday. “I put weight on. For my last fight, I was nearly 20 stones(271 pounds). I got myself in shape slowly. I knew who I was fighting and what it would take. I got into shape. The story of my life is pressure. I’ve been under pressure my entire life. This is just another puzzle. There is more pressure because of the future, but that’s in the future…
“When I’m in shape, you’ve got problems, because I can do what I like to do. I don’t mind-blowing up because I can recover, go again. Whatever he wants to do, I’m cool with it. I don’t like to make predictions. He is very experienced and can look after himself. He’s a tough guy. But listen, if I land early? It is night night early. But he can do the same, as well.”
The 32-year-old Whyte wants to inflict a lot of pain on Povetkin and is hoping to hurt him from the opening bell.
“I’m ready for chaos and violence. I am focused on Povetkin. I will try to hurt him from the first bell. It will be war – that’s what he does. The great thing is that we both do similar things. It’s up to me to do things to make the fight in my favor, and I am capable of that. He is more experienced, but I know how to fight, which isn’t something anyone can teach.”
If Whyte beats Povetkin, he could put himself in position to fight for the WBC heavyweight title. According to the WBC, if Whyte beats Povetkin, he would be in line to fight the winner of Fury-Wilder 3. However, if Fury defeats Wilder, he is expected to fight Anthony Joshua in 2021. According to Fury’s promoter, Frank Warren, Fury could drop the title to do the fight with Joshua, instead of fighting Whyte.
No matter what happens, a win over Povetkin will open a lot of doors for Whyte.
Photo: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing
Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson broke the internet when he announced on social media that he was returning to boxing. At this point, the 53-year-old Tyson is rumored to be participating in exhibition bouts.
However, what if Tyson really returned to the ring? What would happen?
We examine what would happen if Tyson returned to the sport of boxing:
ESPN will air the non-pay-per-view premier of the heavyweight rematch that captured the world’s attention last month. WBC and Lineal Heavyweight champion Tyson “The Gypsy” King” Fury’s masterpiece victory over Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder will debut on ESPN, Monday March 23. ESPN will air the four-fight card beginning at 8 p.m. ET, which will be preceded by a special re-air presentation of Fury and Wilder’s disputed December 2018 draw (7 p.m. ET).
The entire Wilder-Fury II PPV broadcast will also become available for replay to all ESPN+ subscribers beginning Monday.
The Wilder-Fury II presentation will also feature the following bouts: former heavyweight world champion Charles Martin squaring off against former title challenger Gerald “El Gallo Negro” Washington in a scheduled 12-round IBF heavyweight world title eliminator, WBO junior featherweight world champion Emanuel “Vaquero” Navarrete, a.k.a “The Mexican Iron Man,” defending his title against Filipino contender Jeo Santisima, and super welterweight sensation Sebastian “The Towering Inferno” Fundora against 2016 Australian Olympian Daniel Lewis in a highly anticipated battle of unbeatens.
Wilder-Fury II adds to ESPN’s week of programming, which also includes an encore presentation of the Academy-Award winning 30 for 30 documentary “O.J.: Made in America.” The documentary will now shift to air over four nights in primetime from March 24-March 26. The film originally premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2016, debuted on ABC/ESPN in June 2016, and won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature at the 89th Academy Awards in February 2017.
ESPN+ also features a collection of some of the greatest fights in boxing history, including dozens of legendary bouts from the Top Rank Library, available on demand. The collection includes legendary heavyweight showdowns like Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier III, Ali vs. George Foreman, Joe Louis vs. Billy Conn, Mike Tyson vs. Larry Holmes, Jack Dempsey vs. Gene Tunney, Max Baer vs. James J. Braddock, Ali vs. Sonny Liston I & II, and many more.
Photo: Ryan Hafey/Premier Boxing Champions
Undefeated Polish star and Brooklyn native Adam Kownacki will headline in his hometown on Saturday, March 7 when he takes on Robert Helenius in a WBA Heavyweight Title eliminator as the FOX PBC Fight Night main event and on FOX Deportes from Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING™.
Kownacki has proven himself as a popular draw in a borough full of heavyweight boxing history, and will look to continue to capitalize on that opportunity in this title eliminator.
“This will be my second time headlining at Barclays Center and having the whole New York community, especially the Polish fans, coming out to support me really feels amazing,” said Kownacki. “I grew up in Brooklyn, so seeing my face everywhere on ads and billboards is a great feeling. There’s definitely a little bit of added pressure being in that situation, but diamonds are made with pressure.”
For this fight, Kownacki has had to make the small sleep adjustments that come with having a six-month-old son, but he continues to feel strong in camp, even testing himself against another Polish heavyweight contender in Mariusz Wach.
“With the baby, I’m sleeping less for sure, but this has been a really strong camp,” said Kownacki. “It’s pretty much the same routine training-wise and it’s always the same dedication that we put in every day. We brought in Mariusz Wach for a few weeks of sparring to help me get ready for this one and I think that’s helped me a lot as well.”
The 30-year-old’s first headlining performance in his hometown came in August on FOX, when he won an exciting action fight against former title challenger Chris Arreola. Now he will face a new challenge in the veteran Helenius, who has faced top competition throughout the world and stands over six-feet six-inches tall, making him one of Kownacki’s most imposing opponents to date.
“Helenius is a totally different opponent than Arreola,” said Kownacki. “He’s much taller, which poses a new set of challenges. Against Arreola, it was easy to get on the inside. With Helenius’ height, I’m going to have to work behind my double-jab and then let my punches go.
“He’s very experienced and he’s been in there with a lot of talented fighters. He fought Derek Chisora and Dillian Whyte, going the distance with both, and he’s a former European champion. So, his experience is something I have to be careful with. I’m not looking past him at all.
“Helenius is going to come in with the mindset as if I’m a world champion. I know he’s going to try to take my spot in the rankings. I’m starting to feel like when fighters get in the ring with me, it seems like they’re extra-motivated. But I’m motivated too. I’m in shape and ready to showcase my skills next weekend at Barclays Center.”
This will be Kownacki’s 10th fight at Barclays Center, where he has not only become a fan-favorite, but established himself as a contender in the red-hot heavyweight division. March 7 gives Kownacki another chance to showcase that he has what it takes to end up on top of the heavyweight ladder, and become the first Polish heavyweight champion in boxing history.
“The division is wide open,” said Kownacki. “Right now, Tyson Fury is considered number one. But his previous two fights before the Deontay Wilder rematch weren’t that great, so how good is Fury really? If you look at the top-ten heavyweights, I’m the only one with a clean record, no losses or draws. On Saturday, March 7, I have to prove that I belong in a title fight.”
Photo: Ryan Hafey/Premier Boxing Champions
Tyson “The Gypsy King” Fury defeated Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder by seventh-round stoppage to capture the WBC Heavyweight Championship Saturday night headlining a historic mega PPV event from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
“A big shout out to Deontay Wilder,” said Fury. “He came here tonight, and he manned up, and he really did show the heart of a champion. I hit him with a clean right that dropped him, and he got back up. He is a warrior. He will be back. He will be champion again. But I will say, the king has returned to the top of the throne!”
“Things like this happen,” said Wilder. “The best man won tonight, but my corner threw in the towel, and I was ready to go out on my shield. I had a lot of things going on heading into this fight. It is what it is, but I make no excuses tonight. I’m a warrior. He had a great performance, and we will be back stronger.”
The highly anticipated rematch was the most eagerly awaited heavyweight fight in decades after their controversial split draw in 2018. After an unprecedented promotion, the two heavyweight giants traded leather in the middle of the ring in front of a sold-out crowd of 15,816.
While both men landed good shots in the first two rounds, Fury broke through in round three with a right hook that put Wilder down late in the round. While Wilder was able to make it through the round and continue fighting, his legs appeared weakened, and in round five, Fury scored another knockdown, this time with a body shot.
Referee Kenny Bayless deducted a point from Fury late in round five, but it didn’t stop Fury from coming forward and continuing to use his height and weight advantage to push Wilder around the ring. In round seven, Fury had Wilder cornered and unloaded with a series of power punches that prompted Wilder’s corner to stop the bout, which the referee officially did at 1:39 of the round.
According to CompuBox, Fury was the busier and more effective puncher, out throwing Wilder 267 to 141 and out landing him 82 to 34, including big fifth and sixth rounds where he landed 16 and 14 power punches respectively.
Wilder’s corner made the right decision, or should I say his trainer, Mark Breland, made the right decision. At the post-fight press conference, Wilder’s co-trainer, Jay Deas, made it clear that he disagreed with Breland for throwing in the towel.
“Mark threw the towel,” Deas said. “I didn’t think he should have. Deontay’s the kind of guy that’s a ‘go out on his shield’ kind of guy.”
However, Wilder’s eardrum was busted up, and his equilibrium was off. The way Fury was landing; Wilder could have gotten permanently damaged. Breland was a great fighter in his day, and a fighter knows when a guy has had enough. Wilder had enough on Saturday night, and thank God, Breland saved him from himself.
Photo: Ryan Hafey/Premier Boxing Champions
We’ve waited, and now it’s on! WBC Heavyweight World Champion Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder and undefeated lineal champion Tyson “The Gypsy King” Fury will finally get it on, in the rematch, on Saturday, February 22 from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
On Friday, the two combatants stepped on the scale. Wilder weighed in at a career-high 231 pounds, while Fury came in at 273 pounds.
Here are photos from the Wilder-Fury 2 weigh-in:
Photos: Mikey Williams/Top Rank