Kubrat Pulev’s co-manager Ivaylo Gotzev has claimed legal action was on the cards if Anthony Joshua pulled out of their mandated fight.
Gotzev believes at one point during 2020 that Joshua completely made his mind up to ditch the Pulev battle in exchange for Tyson Fury.
Joshua wanted to abandon the IBF stipulation and focus on an all-British undisputed clash with Fury once Deontay Wilder was out of the picture.
Fury stated in late October that a deadline for Wilder to agree to their trilogy had expired. This left the door open for Joshua, who was going to walk through it.
In the end, Gotzev revealed that it was the pandemic that saved Pulev from having to contact lawyers over a possible AJ pullout.
Without Covid-19 halting the world’s free movement, Fury vs. Joshua may well have gotten over the line before Pulev.
“It (Joshua vs. Pulev) got very close (to not happening next) because things got confusing with the pandemic, and they were looking to cash in on the biggest fight, I suppose.
“They figured they could make the Fury fight, and that would be a big payday,” Gotzev told Marc Gatford via the MyBettingSites.co.uk.
“But it turns out the same reasons like no fans challenge the Fury fight. Is one going to wait forever to get back to normal?
“So finally, Matchroom and AJ did the right thing. But, yes, there was a time when they weren’t doing the right thing, concentrating on the Fury fight.”
He continued: “I do understand how lucrative that fight would be for both sides. But boxing is a worldwide sport. It’s not just about two heavyweights that happen to both be from the UK.
“Honestly, we had a firm legal position, all things considered. So they had to take the proper challenge.
“There are certain rules that should be respected. We’ve waited three years to get back up the ladder,” concluded Gotzev.
ANTHONY JOSHUA DELAY
Those three years happened due to Pulev pulling out of a scheduled collision late in 2017. Carlos Takam eventually replaced the Bulgarian.
Pulev was then placed at the back of the line. We had to earn his place again with a victory over Hughie Fury.
The pair will finally get it on this Saturday night in London, with Pulev fancied by US promoter Bob Arum to end Joshua’s reign for a second time.
Bookmakers in the UK firmly disagree.