Home Headline Joshua plays down knee concerns ahead of Pulev clash

Joshua plays down knee concerns ahead of Pulev clash

Joshua preparing for rescheduled clash with Kubrat Pulev

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Anthony Joshua has played down concerns over a knee injury Photo Credit: Matchroom Boxing
Anthony Joshua has played down concerns over a knee injury Photo Credit: Matchroom Boxing

Anthony Joshua has calmed fears over a recent knee injury and insists he is stepping up preparations for a clash against Kubrat Pulev.

The 30-year-old, who bumped into WBC champion Tyson Fury in Marbella last Saturday, is awaiting news of a rescheduled clash with IBF mandatory challenger Pulev, after the Coronavirus crisis scuppered their original June 20 date at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO champion was pictured wearing a knee brace, as he attended a Black Lives Matter protest in Watford in June, however, Joshua says he has been training even with the slight knock which promoter Eddie Hearn confirmed would not require any surgery.

“The knee is as good as it can be,” Joshua told Sky Sports.

“I am in full training. I didn’t stop training even when I had the knee.

“I’m sure many of my social media followers saw me on the heavy bag sitting down. I’m standing up now. I’m on two feet and I’m sure we can start sparring, so I’ll be looking for some sparring partners in about a week or two to start training camp.”

Hearn is hopeful of staging the fight with a crowd in November or December, revealing that the O2 Arena is the most likely option, whilst also listing a boat or castle as possible alternatives.

Joshua was set to face Kubrat Pulev in June Photo Credit: Boxing Scene
Joshua was set to face Kubrat Pulev in June Photo Credit: Boxing Scene

Pulev’s co-promoter Ivaylo Gotzev admits his charge would have no issues competing on a boat, whilst also sighting Croatia as another possibility.

“By land or by sea this fight must happen,” Gotzev told Pro Boxing Fans.

“Croatia is an excellent choice, we were welcomed.

“There is a beautiful arena still standing today, [it would be] an epic battle, it will be something that’s noble, something that’s never been seen before in modern times.

“Why not? We have the support of the local municipality, the arena wants us, Croatia can accept us. They have very low numbers in their pandemic situation.

“So there it is, that’s available to us.”

“A boat as Eddie suggested, no problem we’ll jump on a boat and get it on.

“Whatever it takes, we’re ready to fight, we’re ready to battle by land or by sea.”

In June, Joshua agreed a two-fight deal with Fury for the undisputed Heavyweight crown set for 2021, providing both men come through their next assignments.

Fury will face Deontay Wilder for a third time later this year after the American exacted his right to a trilogy following his seventh round stoppage loss in February, with mandatory challenger Dillian Whyte to follow, whilst Joshua has Pulev and WBO mandatory Oleksandr Usyk to tackle.

Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury have agreed terms for a two-fight deal in 2021 Photo Credit: Boxing Scene
Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury have agreed terms for a two-fight deal in 2021 Photo Credit: Boxing Scene

However, Gotzev dismissed any talk of possible step aside money granted to Pulev to allow an undisputed fight.

“We never wanted to do step aside,” Gotzev added.

“Nor did we want to forfeit our number one position, which was earned by blood, sweat and tears in that order.

“We’ve been waiting for three years now, and it’s the right time, the right moment for this fight to take off.

“I know there’s a big British, UK showdown planned, Tyson Fury vs [Anthony] Joshua.

“As a fan, yeah maybe I want to see it, but first things first, Kubrat is in his face, that’s the proper challenge, he’s the number one contender, deal with that first.

“Go ahead and deal with it AJ, be a man. Show something we haven’t seen in your last two fights, so here we are ready and willing, when is he?”

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