‘Deer in the headlights Anthony Joshua struggles on the road, needs home’

Kubrat Pulev co-promoter Ivaylo Gotzev has accused Eddie Hearn of a lack of interest in staging an Anthony Joshua fight outside the UK.

Firstly, the Bulgarian has pitched ideas to Hearn as to where the IBF mandatory clash could be staged, only to continually hit a brick wall.

Outlining the current situation, which has seemingly hit an impasse, Gotzev now believes the Joshua fight only happens in one place.

“Being the warriors that we are, we went for alternate scenarios to stage the fight,” he explained. “We tried to supply a legitimate place and site this fight could take off. We did that.

“Croatia came in strong with a big offer. An excellent offer as a matter of fact, for us to take it to Pula. But from day one there was always hesitancy.

“I don’t think they ever wanted to be anywhere outside of (Joshua’s) home sweet home. The UK and London.

“I do believe that the champion, who I have a lot of respect for, has struggled due to the fact that he did not look very good on the road.

Anthony Joshua down Andy Ruiz Jr
???? Ed Mulholland

“Firstly, he loses the fight in New York and then he struggles in the comeback in Saudi Arabia. He’s got issues on the road and needs to be at home.

“Secondly, AJ looked like a deer in headlights in Madison Square. He didn’t know what the hell happened to him,” added Gotzev.


Joshua did regain his world titles from Andy Ruiz Jr. in that Diriyah return but was roundly panned by the US market for his performance.

Saying Joshua struggles on the road isn’t strictly true either. In 2017, Wladimir Klitschko almost stopped Joshua at home in Wembley Stadium.

Back-to-back American flops haven’t done anything for the Briton’s stateside reputation. Even a potential undisputed unification with Tyson Fury has been like a fart in the wind across the Atlantic.

The Pulev fight really needs to be done and dusted by December, at the latest for Joshua, who needs to focus on Fury at the back end of next summer.

Before then, Oleksandr Usyk is due for his chance around March. Furthermore, this leaves AJ with little wiggle room over the next twelve months.

Phil Jay is Editor of WBN. An Auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay