Ivaylo Gotsev, manager of Kubrat Pulev, believes his charge can challenge for the heavyweight championship again and is not ruling out a future rematch with Anthony Joshua.
Former two-time world title challenger, Pulev bounced back from a ninth round stoppage defeat to Joshua in December 2020 with a unanimous decision victory over Jerry Forrest in May and is gearing up to face Derek Chisora in a rematch on Saturday at the O2 Arena, live on DAZN.
Joshua has a rematch of his own to attend to when he attempts to win back the IBF, WBA ‘super’, WBO and IBO heavyweight world titles from Oleksandr Usyk on August 20 in Saudi Arabia and Gotsev believes ‘AJ’ and Pulev could meet again in the future, claiming that the Bulgarian was unable to train at full capacity after contracting COVID-19.
“When he fought Joshua here in London in 2020, he was just coming out of a pretty bad case of COVID,” Gotsev told proboxing-fans.com.
“He decided to take the fight, because he thought he would never get an opportunity against Joshua, but guess what, maybe there is one after all when he’s healthy.
“When he proves himself July 9 against Derek Chisora maybe we’ll have a second go round with Joshua or whoever the champion might be at that time.
“I’d say [his performance against Joshua] it was nothing short of amazing, because of the fact that he just came out of a pretty bad case of COVID, where he actually quit training for at least two-three weeks, no sparring, just took walks and maintained his physical shape to a degree.
“That fight he wasn’t even 50% I wouldn’t say, so looking forward to another go round.
“We want to showcase his skills here on British soil at the O2, July 9, so this is where it all begins again for Kubrat.”
Pulev secured a split decision win over Chisora in Hamburg in 2016 to capture the vacant European heavyweight title.
Chisora, 38, is on a run of three consecutive defeats including two to Joseph Parker and Gotsev insists the 41-year-old visitor is looking to add to that list with a knockout victory.
“We’re looking for it [a knockout] actually yes,” he added.
“Kubrat’s strong, I believe he’s the most fit he’s ever been and he’s definitely the most experienced he’s ever been having so many fights under his belt now.
“As we know there’s no substitute for experience, he’s got it all now.”
Watch the full interview with Ivaylo Gotsev below: