CAPE TOWN - Kubrat Pulev has given Anthony Joshua "no chance" of walking away from their title heavyweight fight with the IBF, WBA and IBO world titles still in his possession, after the bout was announced on Tuesday.
The Bulgarian will challenge Joshua for the titles at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales on October 28, in what will be the Englishman's first match since he knocked out Wladimir Klitschko at a sold out Wembley Stadium in April.
“Anthony is a formidable opponent. We will not hug and hold, we will not run; we will stand and fight. His style fits mine perfectly and in boxing, styles make fights," Pulev said.
“My preparation will be very intense, and I will be perfectly ready when I enter the ring so that he will have no chance to beat me.”
Joshua was expected to face Klitschko in a rematch, but those plans were scuppered when the legendary Ukrainian retired in early August - leaving Joshua with the choice to either vacate the IBF title or face mandated challenger Pulev.
“October 28 can't come soon enough. I have been eager to get back in the ring since Wembley and now we are confirmed and ready,” said Joshua.
“I'll be locked away focusing on fight number 20 for the next eight weeks. I am excited to experience the atmosphere in a sold out Principality Stadium and aim to give the fans a spectacular night.”
Joshua had been considered a potential champion since winning gold at the 2012 Olympic Games in London and has since won all 19 of his professional bouts by knockout. The 11th round stoppage of Klitschko was his first ever professional fight to last longer than seven rounds and just his third to go beyond the third round.
The 27-year-old was still considered to be a work in progress when he signed on to fight Klitschko, and Pulev’s promoter Kalle Sauerland has predicted that his deficiencies will be exposed in October.
“Anthony is a great champion and his last fight ignited the division,” said Sauerland. “However, by his own admission, he is still learning and Pulev is not the sort of opponent you want to learn against.
"Kubrat and his trainer Uli Wegner – Europe’s most successful professional coach – have studied every weakness for the Cobra to strike victoriously.”