Forthcoming opponent Kubrat Pulev says Anthony Joshua is ‘not mentally strong’ ahead of their IBF mandatory clash in the near future.
The Bulgarian has signed a contract to battle Joshua, with the fight supposed to be happening in the summer.
An outbreak of coronavirus ended those hopes, although Pulev is now awaiting a rescheduling date. As he does so, the veteran gave Joshua both barrels in an interview with Sky Sports.
Dismissing AJ is any sort of challenge, Pulev pointed to the shocking defeat to Andy Ruiz Jr. as his starting point.
Asked whether Joshua had recovered from being dropped four times and stopped in New York last year, Pulev said: “No, I don’t think so.
“Mentality is something you were born with, you have it inside you. Also, being mentally strong is a skill you have to work on from a very young age.
“It all begins with the family a kid grows up in and then you strengthen your mentality as an adult.
“Joshua’s mentality, meanwhile, is a whole lot different and it was just a matter of time for him to lose.”
Promoter Eddie Hearn is attempting to wade through the storm that has become boxing trying to find a place in the new world of COVID-19.
— Anthony Joshua (@anthonyfjoshua) May 7, 2020
Behind closed doors has effectively been ruled out for Joshua. The man himself revealed he may well be open to it, though.
Taking to social media, Joshua said: “80,000 and more. Imagine having to do it behind closed doors.”
Hearn wants fans. Therefore, the Matchroom boss may have to find an alternate way to make things work.
Either that – or wait for a vaccine and put AJ on the shelf.
Heading abroad is a distinct possibility if suitability comes into play, with the likes of Saudi Arabia and venues in Europe being bandied around.
At this point, the UK is the second biggest hotbed of coronavirus on earth. This means boxing with crowds faces further months on the sidelines.