Anthony Joshua admits being baffled by Kubrat Pulev pull-out, ‘didn’t expect him to stand down’
Unified and undefeated heavyweight Champion Anthony Joshua spoke to members of the media recently to discuss his upcoming title defense against IBF mandatory challenger Carlos Takam.
The fight will be televised LIVE on SHOWTIME at 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT from Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.
The British sensation Joshua (19-0, 19 KOs) and Takam (35-3-1, 27 KOs) will meet in front of what is expected to be more than 70,000 boxing at Welsh’s national stadium.
Here’s what Joshua had to say about former opponent Kubrat Pulev pulling out and putting the event in slight danger.
“I was a bit baffled,” admitted Joshua. “You know how it is when you’re a fighter, you say ‘I’m going to fight with one arm, one eye, one leg.’
“I didn’t expect him to stand down the opportunity but I do understand that he wanted to be 100 percent. Nowadays, there’s a lot of science to the sport so he probably had to get advice from his doctors, so I get it.
“But it’s a shame because there was just something about Pulev and wanting to outclass him.
“My mindset with Takam…I don’t know. He’s veteran where you take a lot to give a lot. It’s just switching up my mindset about the style of fight I’m going to engage in now. That was the main disappointment.
Addressing the possibility of postponing the event, Joshua said he would never want to call off a fight if it could be avoided.
“There was no doubt in my mind that I would still fight. If Eddie had opponents lined up, I was definitely still going to fight.
“There was no point in my mind where I thought that I’m not going to compete or didn’t know what I was going to do.
“When I look at Pulev. He was getting the payday. He had to make the decision. From a fighter’s point of view, you have to put the fighter first.
“From a second point of view, I don’t want to take the opportunity from a lot of my friends on the undercard because they’re not going to make their money.
“Then you’ve got to think of the fans as well because there’s so many people that book hotels, travel, time off work.
“Before I think of myself, I think of all these other people that have come out to have a good time and are dependent on me.
“So that’s why I said I’m really happy that the show could go on, not just for me. A lot of people would have lost out that night.
“A real bonus is that I always work on myself in the gym so I haven’t had like 100 Pulev clones coming to the gym.
“I haven’t been working just solely on the style to defeat Pulev. I’ve been working on improving on my weaknesses and building on my strengths.
“So, when I heard I wasn’t going to be fighting him and that the next guy in line was Takam, it was like OK, cool, because I’ve still been developing myself anyways.
“You could put me with anyone. What I’ve worked on in the gym and what I’ve built myself two of these last three months, I should be able to fight anyone.
“I’m just happy that I don’t have to wait because it probably would have been March or April. That would have been a year out of the ring.
“I don’t think now is the time to be taking that much time out so I’m really grateful that the show could still go on.”