''The Shackles Are Off'' - Anthony Joshua Sends Warning Shots To Pulev
March. 11, 2020
British-Nigerian heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua's "shackles" will be off when he takes on Kubrat Pulev and will deliver a more "destructive" display, promises promoter Eddie Hearn.
Joshua's IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles are at stake in a compulsory defence at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on June 20. Should Joshua successfully defend his title he intends facing Tyson Fury for every major divisional belt.
Joshua defeated Andy Ruiz Jr to regain his titles in their December rematch in Saudi Arabia but he will fight more intensely in his upcoming fight, promoter Hearn insists.
"You will see one of the best AJ performances - the shackles are off from the Ruiz Jr 2 fight in terms of being disciplined and following a game-plan," Hearn told Sky Sports.
Joshua and his promoter Eddie Hearn
"He can be more destructive in a better stand-up fight.
"The mind-set is the same and has been the same since day one, with a couple of tweaks. The Ruiz Jr defeat taught him not to be influenced by outside noise. Stay focused, look after yourself, be selfish.
"He gave time to everybody but this is an unforgiving sport and you've got to look after No 1. He did that for the Ruiz Jr rematch and he will do it again.
"He's been working since the Ruiz Jr rematch. There hasn't been a week where he hasn't been in the gym working on tactics, ability and technique. He's absolutely driven to be the best.
"This isn't a guy who fights then goes on holiday to have a few pints and a couple of pizzas, taking three months off with the kids. He is working day-in day-out. He's an absolute role model to any athlete and any individual in sport.
"The Pulev fight is the focus. He has said: 'You make plans, for me it's only about Pulev'.
"I sent him [Pulev and Fury's promoter] Bob Arum's interview where he said 'there will be no AJ after June 20 when Pulev knocks him out'.
"I did that to spark the flames in AJ.
"We need that. You've got to be up for this. Against Ruiz Jr the first time, maybe one of the problems was that the spark wasn't there. If you take your eye off the ball you will get beaten. With what's ahead, we can't afford to lose. He's doing everything to put an unbelievable performance together on June 20."
Hearn had initially made known to the public that Joshua's camp struggled to find suitable sparring opponents for Joshua prior to his first fight to Ruiz Jr, which he lost.
"It's a lot easier for Pulev than it was for Ruiz Jr, who was an unorthodox style," Hearn explained as plans come together for Joshua's next training camp.
"Ruiz Jr is 6ft 19st and very fast. His hand speed and technique is almost unheard of. Pulev? More straight up and down. Great right hand, technically good from an amateur perspective. He's been around, has boxed Wladimir Klitschko and been unbeaten for a long time.
"It will be easier to determine sparring partners."
Joshua delivered an inspiring speech in front of the Queen on Monday as part of the Commonwealth celebrations at Westminster - Hearn regarded the occasion as an "incredible day for him".
Joshua's promoter added: "It's crazy to think of the journey he's been on, when you see him shaking the Queen's hand. It's amazing for the sport. Amazing that a fighter is in those situations, being seen by the whole."
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