Former European heavyweight champion Kubrat Pulev has claimed that monetary rewards was not his reasoning for pulling out of his fight with Anthony Joshua on Saturday October 28.
The 36-year-old Bulgarian has been replaced by French-Cameroonian Carlos Takam, after Pulev suffered a shoulder injury during sparring.
Anthony Joshua is set to defend both his IBF and WBA heavyweight titles at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff on October 28, with 70,000 tickets already booked up for the event.
But, he will have to now prepare for a completely different opponent.
Pulev has 25 wins to his name, 13 of them knockouts, and one defeat. 'The cobra', as he is nicknamed, is 6ft 4in and second in the IBF world rankings.
He previously defeated American Kevin Johnson in March and is on a run of five successive wins since his defeat to Wladamir Klitschko.
IBF rules state that it is compulsory in the event of a drop out that the contest goes to the next ranked boxer, which is Takam.
Promoter Eddie Hearn said: "Having prepared meticulously for the style and height of Pulev, he [Joshua] now faces a completely different style and challenge in Takam."
The fight has been brimming with anticipation throughout 2017 with the IBF deeming the bout a mandatory one for Joshua.
But, the cancellation has been hard to take for Bulgarian Pulev.
Pulev revealed all surrounding his decision to withdraw from the fight on Facebook on Tuesday, saying: "I am aware that the news of my injury and the subsequent cancellation of the game between me and Anthony Joshua for the world title surprised you.
"It wasn't easy for me to make that decision! I know, in my place, almost everyone would choose to get into the ring in Cardiff, despite everything and collect a few million."
Pulev was set to earn an estimated £4 million compared to Joshua's £15 million from the contest in Cardiff.
"Anthony Joshua has to defend world titles against a strong rival and I'm glad he already has one.
"I'm still more thirsty for this battle, and I think it's only a matter of time. It is such challenges that make my heart beat hard and feel that I am truly alive. In a week's time, we tried everything to heal the injury, but everything needs its own."
A humble reaction in many ways from the Bulgarian.
Reward money has continually been topic of debate in boxing, with Floyd Mayweather recently walking away with $180 million from his fight with Conor McGregor.
Pulev continued: "I take it as a sign. If God decided, then that's how it was meant to be. Still, I will be myself and I will not betray my principles. A few million won't make me richer or happier."
His admiration and respect for Joshua also came through over the course of his comments on social media, as did his patriotism.
Pulev has indeed also turned down lucrative offers to switch his national allegiance to Germany in the past.
"My wealth is the undying love of the Bulgarian people, from whom I always buy strength and inspiration and that gives me the meaning of everything I do! Thank you from the heart of all Bulgarians for faith and support! We're moving on!"
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