Who is Kubrat Pulev?
Oliver Hardt | Credit: Bongarts/Getty Images

Saturday night marks the second time that Kubrat Pulev will challenge for the heavyweight championship of the world. His first time saw him run into the unstoppable force at the time which was Wladimir Klitschko (pictured above) as he taken out in brutal fashion by the supreme champion in his prime.

It's been six years since that night in Germany where he was knocked out in the fifth round in brutal fashion. His wait is nearly over to challenge for the world title once again as this Saturday he takes on the current unified heavyweight champion of the world, Anthony Joshua. 

The seasoned heavyweight has been around for over a decade and has had a largely successful career; this article will delve into that and look to answer the question, who is Kubrat Pulev?


Seasoned professional

If there is one way to describe 'The Cobra' it's seasoned. The 39-year-old has been around the heavyweight scene since 2009 and has amassed a record of 28 wins, 14 wins by knockout and one sole defeat.

All but two of his opponents have winning records, and he has picked up titles such as the IBF International title, EBU European title and the WBA Inter-continental title in his years in the sport. 

The main wins in his career have come against Hughie Fury, Kevin Johnson, Dereck Chisora, Tony Thompson, Alexander Ustinov and Alexander Dimitrenko. Since his loss to Klitschko in 2014, he's been unbeaten in eight fights in five years - all leading to Joshua. 

He comes into the fight as one of the most experienced opponents Joshua has faced, alongside the likes of Johnson, Alexander Povetkin and Klitschko. He poses a threat with his solid boxing fundamentals and experience. 

Strangely, this fight was meant to happen back in 2017, before Joshua had fought Joseph Parker. Pulev pulled out due to injury and Carlos Takam stepped in at short notice. Three years on, the fight is finally here.

Klitschko defeat

In 2014, Pulev was victorious against Ivica Perkovic, who boasted an awful record of 20 wins and 23 losses. This was his warm-up for taking on one of the best heavyweights ever, and at the time the undisputed champion. 

He gained plaudits for his aggressive style against the Ukrainian, who had been criticised for his underwhelming title defences, so this was an exciting occasion. 

Despite being floored in the first, Pulev taunted the champion, which unlocked the beast. He hit the canvas again soon after in the same round and again in round four before he couldn't beat the count in the fifth.

Yes, he was outclassed, outgunned and heavily beaten. But he showed heart to keep getting up and it has to be something he has learned from. He even claimed he was too brash, too young and experienced to deal with that fight at the time, and that now he is ready for this title challenge.

Pulev's thoughts on Fight Week

This week has seen Pulev gain media attention like never before, with the Sky Sports cameras everywhere ready to hear his thoughts about the fight. A lot of people are comparing him to Andy Ruiz Jr, claiming Pulev shares the same 'underdog' tagline and that he has seen weaknesses from that loss.

“We see a lot of mistakes from Anthony,” said Pulev. “A lot of bad sides to him. I think these mistakes, and the bad sides, stay. The most important thing is how I perform on Saturday night. When I am good, I beat him well. Right now I feel very good, strong and powerful. I am very strong heading into this fight."

He has strong motivations for this fight in representing his country and making them proud as well as looking to realise his late father's dream for his son to become world champion. 

“This fight is not only for me. This fight isn’t just for boxing. It is for all of Bulgaria. Nobody from my country has ever been Heavyweight Champion of the World. That’s why it will be so good for my country and my people. Bulgarian fans will be really happy.

“This was my late father’s dream. That is why me and my brother are here. His project was to have sons, and for them to become boxing champions. And we are now real, this is now fact. He looks down from above and I’m sure he’s happy. He wants to win on Saturday night with me."

For people using his only loss against Klitschko to judge him, he has had some strong words in response. He also claims he will derail the Tyson Fury/Joshua super-fight with a win on Saturday.

“We will see how Joshua performs. I don’t know what to expect from him. It doesn’t matter to me. For me it’s only important what I do in the ring and how I prepare. How is my strategy? How is my boxing? This is what is important. I will perform very differently because I have a lot of experience from the Klitschko fight. I will be a new Kubrat Pulev.

“I feel healthy and happy. I have a lot of energy. After the fight and after the win, I will be really happy. I think after this fight I’m going to fight with Tyson Fury. It will be good. I don’t believe that the Joshua vs. Fury fight is going to happen because I will win on Saturday night. I think the world needs a new World Champion like me. I am the new World Champion. I am coming.”