In anticipation of Anthony Joshua’s latest conquest in Cardiff on October 28, legendary former WBO cruiserweight champion Johnny Nelson came forward and addressed his concerns with AJ’s decision to take a “big risk” for his upcoming world title defence.
Kubrat Pulev will take centre stage in just under two months time to take on the world number one heavyweight Anthony Joshua, as he looks to achieve something his old foe Wladimir Klitschko failed to, best the undefeated Brit in 12 rounds or less.
Johnny Nelson believes too many people are instantly writing off Pulev’s chances of an upset, on the basis that they’ve never heard of the Bulgarian before.
“This is one of those fighters where the general public might not be aware who Pulev is, but the boxing public do know all about him,” wrote Nelson.
“It’s a big risk for Joshua, but he’s got to take this fight, because he will lose his IBF belt if he doesn’t.”
Nelson continues on to argue that this could well be Joshua’s toughest test to date, a line that is seemingly always recited before Joshua’s fights.
However, the longest reigning cruiserweight world champion cites Pulev’s far superior amateur background to being a potential key to ending Joshua’s unbeaten record.
“The more orthodox you are, the more it suits Pulev down to the ground, because he has that amateur pedigree,” argued Nelson.
“Pulev does everything correctly and any mistakes from Joshua and he will feel the force. In those 25 wins, he has 13 knockouts, which shows he can box as well as punch.
“When I see a record like that, they are more fearful than the bangers or the guys who can only win on points. They can hit, they can hurt, and they can box as well.”
In addition to this, Nelson believes Pulev, back in his 2014 duel with Klitschko, forced Wlad into positions he had never been in before as a result of his fantastic boxing ability.
“He’s been in with Wladimir Klitschko and got stopped of course, but that was one of the best performances by Wladimir back in 2014.”
Klitschko, as stated, did force a stoppage on the Bulgarian powerhouse, although Pulev created an environment in which the Ukrainian icon had to show the skill and guile of a true champion to get the job done, something Joshua may have to rely on come fight night.
Whether Nelson is simply trying to play devil’s advocate or do a promotion job for Sky Sports remains to be seen, but these recent comments should spark debate about how simple a task this is going to be for AJ.