Anthony Joshua has shown signs of being “green” by “overlooking” Kubrat Pulev to think about Tyson Fury, his upcoming opponent’s manager has said.
Joshua’s IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles are on the line against Pulev on December 12, live on Sky Sports Box Office, and he then expects to meet Fury next year to decide the division’s undisputed champion.
But thinking too far ahead is an error welcomed by Pulev, his manager Ivaylo Gotsev has warned.
Asked if Pulev had thought ahead to 2021 and a fight against Fury with every belt at stake, Gotsev told Sky Sports: “Absolutely not. We will let AJ and [his promoter] Eddie Hearn make that mistake.
“We are only focused on AJ.
“You could call it a mistake or call it being green, to overlook the opponent that is in front of you.
“In 30 years in boxing, I’ve seen too many things go wrong when you look too far ahead.
“There is only one fight in the world for us – AJ vs Pulev.”
Pulev and Fury share Top Rank’s Bob Arum as a US-based promoter, an added layer of intrigue amid negotiations to eventually pit Fury against Joshua.
Speaking about Arum, Gotsev said: “His plan is to have the undisputed title and he’s on the verge of having both sides. Pulev will upset the applecart.
“Bob will be a happy man when he has both sides of the undisputed title fight!”
Bulgaria’s Pulev has only lost to Wladimir Klitschko in 29 fights, and has since beaten Derek Chisora and Hughie Fury.
“He has seen styles before like AJ’s,” Gotsev insisted.
“AJ is a great specimen who punches very hard and is very athletic but he has holes too. He isn’t the complete package.
“Pulev can avoid the strengths and exploit the weaknesses.”
Pulev has noted the differences in Joshua since he was shocked by Andy Ruiz Jr last year, his manager claimed.
“AJ showed it clearly in his second fight with Ruiz Jr when he just ran around,” Gotsev said.
“His last fight showed who AJ really is.
“Kubrat is a different type of challenge. AJ must make a lot of adjustments from facing a short, heavy guy to someone whose footwork is one of his best assets and who is the same size.”
AJ sets sights on Fury’s belt
“It’s always been my wish,” Joshua told Sky Sports. “Not just the WBC but competing with the toughest challenges that the heavyweight division has to offer.
“That’s the only way to get better, right? You have a tough night, you go back again, you improve whether you win or lose.
“Fighting for the WBC would be an honour. It’s a prestigious belt, it’s one that I’m keen on getting my hands on.
“When the time is right, the opportunity will present itself.
“When the WBC talk comes around? Hopefully people understand that: ‘Joshua is serious’. Which I am.”
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