Pulev Offers Value in Joshua Bout

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Can Kubrat Pulev get the better of Anthony Joshua this weekend?

Kubrat Pulev Anthony Joshua

It’s big fight after big fight at the moment and Anthony Joshua has his time in the spotlight on Saturday night.

Joshua defends his WBA, IBF and WBO world titles against Kubrat Pulev and the Watford fighter is 1/14 to make a successful defence.

Pulev is rated a 6/1 chance and when you look at those prices it seems as though this bout is being treated as a foregone conclusion.

However, if you can see past the hype and the talk before the fight it’s hard not to think that Pulev is being massively overlooked by those odds.

Pulev to Spring a Surprise

Of course, this looks like a tailor-made match for Joshua, given that Pulev is 39-years-old and AJ has the speed and physical advantages.

However, looking back at the last handful of AJ’s fights it’s difficult to see where he has performed anywhere near the level that is being suggested by the betting.

Joshua lost his belts to Andy Ruiz Jnr in 2019. To put that into perspective, the Destroyer’s best previous win came against Tor Hamer and he was defeated by Joseph Parker.

Ruiz stepped in to take the fight at short notice, clearly wasn’t in the best physical condition and he hasn’t even been back in the ring since losing the rematch two summers ago.

AJ did what he had to do and won the titles back in the return, but it was a pretty tepid display and an underwhelming points victory. That was against a boxer, who admitted he hadn’t bothered to train for the fight and was in awful shape.

That’s the form of Joshua’s last two fights and you’re being asked to take 1/14 on Saturday night.

Joshua Not Hitting Top Level

The Watford fighter couldn’t get Ruiz out before the final bell and, prior to those pair of contests, there wasn’t a great deal to shout about in wins against Alexander Povetkin or Parker.

The last time Joshua impressed was probably his win over Wladimir Klitschko in 2017 and the Ukrainian still nearly got the better of AJ despite being way past his best.

Pulev is a tough fighter, who has beaten the likes of Hughie Fury, Dereck Chisora, Tony Thompson, Alexander Ustinov and Alexander Dimitrenko.

The Bulgarian’s only defeat came against Klitschko, who was much closer to his peak in 2014, and he caused Dr Steelhammer problems, before being stopped in round five.

Clearly, Saturday’s fight comes way later in Pulev’s career, but the Corba still carries plenty of bite and it will be interesting to see how AJ reacts to being hit after his air of invincibility was removed by Ruiz.

This fight seems to have been priced up as if the Ruiz fight never happened. Joshua won the belts back but not even the hype machine can claim to be impressed by that performance.

AJ certainly deserves to be the favourite for the bout and there is no doubt that the Watford fighter is the most likely winner.

However, price is king when it comes to betting and on what we have seen in the last couple of years there is no way Pulev should be as big as 6/1 on Saturday night.

*All odds correct at time of writing

An experienced sports journalist, Henry’s knowledge spans across a number of different areas, including darts and snooker.

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