Anthony Joshua warned Kubrat Pulev he will face a “real one” in Saturday’s world title fight as the pair exchanged heated words at Friday’s weigh-in.
Pulev, 39, goaded Joshua as the unified world heavyweight champion took to the scales, drawing an animated reaction. The pair stood face to face – Pulev shouting, and Joshua waving his finger – with security keen to intervene. “I would have just clapped him in his jaw there and then, but I have to wait until tomorrow,” Joshua, 31, said. Speaking to Sky Sports, the British boxer said he could not repeat what he said to Pulev on television, adding: “Many years I’ve been in boxing and seen a lot fighters talk a lot of rubbish, then they get smacked up. “I know what he’s like, I have studied him. He thinks he’s a warrior. I said ‘don’t let the guys you’ve fought gas you up, you’re in with a real one now’. “When people come in the ring with me they are confident and then after a few rounds their soul gets destroyed. When I see that I can take them out.” Bulgarian Pulev weighed in at 239.7lbs – his lowest weight since 2009 – while Joshua was 4lbs heavier than when he faced Andy Ruiz Jr in December 2019, scaling 240.8lbs. Pulev, who will challenge for Joshua’s IBF, WBA and WBO world titles, said: “I told him I respect him so much but I’m a better boxer and tomorrow I’ll show him. “I think he didn’t like that. But times change, no-one can stay the same. He is world champion now, the last day for him. I don’t hate him, I tell him I respect him. But I have so much energy, I’m so powerful and I’m hungry.” Joshua knows a win could pave the way for a bout with fellow Briton Tyson Fury, where all four world heavyweight titles could be contested for the first time in history. About 1,000 fans will watch his fight with Pulev at Wembley Arena.