Asked about his opponent’s strengths, Pulev said: “I would say he undeniably has a very powerful punch… [and] her tan is better than mine. The mandatory challenger has since apologized, saying his comments were “taken out of context.”“I would never allow myself, under any circumstances, to disrespect another human being for racial, ethnic or religious reasons,” the 39-year-old said in a statement. “If anyone was offended by my words, I hope they will try to understand exactly what I meant by them and if they cannot understand me, then accept my sincere apologies.
Joshua did not respond directly to the confirmation of the fight, saying only “I respect every opponent and I respect Pulev. I wish him good luck during his preparation.
The 31-year-old added that he was hopeful that a limited number of spectators would be able to watch the fight, although all live sports pilot events have remained on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The O2 is the original lion’s den, I have a lot of history with the arena, but without the fans something huge is missing,” Joshua said. “I really hope that, if the security allows it, maybe we can attract some boxing fans, but we will have to see.
Joshua was scheduled to face Pulev in June, but the fight has been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak. It has now been confirmed that he will face Pulev in his first home fight in more than two years, with his IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO belts in play.
The fighters, who have lost only once in their professional careers – Joshua against Ruiz Jr last year and Pulev against Wladimir Klitschko in 2014 – were to meet for the first time in October 2017 at the Principality stadium of Cardiff. However, Puley withdrew after sustaining a shoulder injury two weeks before the fight; Joshua beat his late replacement, Carlos Takam.
Pulev said: “For a small country of Bulgaria, defending the heavyweight titles is a big achievement. This fight is for my late father and all Bulgarians around the world. I come to London to win the world heavyweight championship. ”
If Joshua claims his 24th victory in 25 pro fights, he will take one step closer to an all-British showdown against Tyson Fury in a fight to determine the undisputed heavyweight champion.