British national Anthony Joshua, aged 31, is due to step into the ring for the first time in a year. He is due to face Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev, 39, at Wembley’s SSE Arena in London to defend his IBF heavyweight world title. The pair will finally meet on 12 December, after several delays, including an injury suffered by Pulev which canceled their fight in 2017, and the pandemic creating another postponement from June 2020.
Joshua’s last fight in December 2019 saw him defeat Andy Ruiz, and there is much excitement around a live fight taking place in front of 1,000 fans whilst also being streamed live on Sky Sports. Pundits are expecting a tough fight, and though Joshua is the hot favorite, the fight is expected to be won somewhere between rounds nine and 12.
Odds are being offered for Joshua to win the boxing match by KO, TKO or DQ. MansionBet’s offer for Joshua to win is currently 1/15, with Pulev an outsider at 6/1, though odds are subject to change. These may seem like surprising odds since both Pulev and Joshua have each recorded just one loss.
Joshua currently holds the IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO versions of the heavyweight world title. The only title he does not currently hold in the division is that of WBC champion, a title held by Tyson Fury which is due to be contested in 2021. Joshua is very keen to win this title and will not want Pulev to ruin his plans.
Last year, Madison Square Garden was the site of a major upset when Joshua’s arrival in the US to fight Andy Ruiz Jr ended in defeat. Joshua has learned from this experience and is determined not to underestimate his opponent, particularly one as experienced as Pulev.
It was in 2014 that Pulev recorded his only defeat with a fifth-round knockout by Wladimir Klitschko in his last contest for a world title. He has since improved his IBF rankings to try again. Fourteen of his wins have been through right-handed knockouts, but his hand speed is not fast, which is expected to work in Joshua’s favor, allowing him to dominate the fight.
Joshua is also one of the best finishes in the sport and Pulev is expected to tire after several rounds, which is what Joshua will be aiming for. The upset against Ruiz will likely see Joshua take a more measured approach and betting odds for a late stoppage are a better option than those for a spectacular early finish that has been seen in the past.
As to whether the fight will go the distance, the odds for Joshua are 3/1 and against Pulev at odds of 2/9. Other bets offered are 16/5 that Joshua will win on decision or technical decision, with odds of 20/1 against Pulev. Joshua to win by KO, TKO or disqualification has odds of 1/3 with odds against Pulev of 9/1. The chances of a draw are showing at 33/1.
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