Bulgarian heavyweight contender Kubrat Pulev has gone on record to state that he will NOT stand aside to allow Anthony Joshua to face Tyson Fury in a world heavyweight title unification bout.
The 39-year-old is currently the IBF’s mandatory challenger and was originally set to face Joshua on June 20 before the coronavirus pandemic forced the postponement of the fight.
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn has since suggested that Pulev and Deontay Wilder could both be convinced to move aside to allow all the titles to be unified, with Joshua and Fury facing off next to reignite the heavyweight division following the COVID-19 lockdown.
But Pulev, who has already moved aside once before for Joshua, has no intention of doing so again.
“I wouldn’t accept it,” said a defiant Pulev.
“I did it once when I didn’t have to do it for him (Joshua) to have his second match against (Andy) Ruiz Jr. Everything was against IBF’s rules, but I compromised.”
On that occasion, Pulev moved aside to allow Joshua to face Ruiz in their world title rematch as the Brit recaptured the IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO heavyweight titles.
But Pulev says it’s time for him to get his title shot, and he won’t be accepting any offers to stand aside.
“Enough is enough,” he stated.
“I can’t understand why we are still postponing instead of fixing a date and venue and getting to work? I can’t wait to win this fight.
“I see how people are afraid of me and are trying to face someone else before me. That’s not how a real world champion should act.
“Even Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield are coming back to the game to show that they are real warriors, not like him. A year has passed, and they always have a reason to postpone, not to fight against me.
“There are two options. You either fight or vacate the title.”
Pulev hit the headlines last summer after forcibly kissing backstage interviewer Jenny Sushe after one of his bouts.
He was initially suspended for his actions, but after serving four months and attending a sexual harassment course and paying a $2,500 fine to re-apply for his boxing license, he was reinstated in July 2019.
Now he stands on the verge of a title shot, but needs to stand firm as some of the sport’s top powerbrokers look to lock in their chosen matchup, and leave Pulev out in the cold.