By Ognian Georgiev, Bulgaria Today
IBF#2 Kubrat Pulev is the mandatory challenger for International Boxing federation heavyweight belt, currently held by Anthony Joshua. The Bulgarian heavyweight is waiting for Wladimir Klitschko’s decision for the anticipated rematch. At the same time, Pulev’s promoter Kalle Sauerland gave a valued insight on the current situation around the belt after Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn requested an exception of the mandatory duties of the British KO artist.
Mr. Sauerland, what will be the Team Sauerland position towards Joshua’s team request to keep the title for the rematch with Klitschko?
First of all, the IBF is very strict on their laws. For us, the main thing is that Kubrat is in position. We know that. He will fight for the world title. The question is against who. We and Kubrat prefer to fight Anthony Joshua than to box for the vacant belt. We are trying to see how we are going to reach a deal, which satisfies all the parties. At the end, the final decision is not my decision, it’s not Kubrat’s decision, not Joshua’s decision and not Eddie Hearn’s decision. It’s an IBF decision. We may reach any deal that we want, but at the end of the day, it’s the IBF that will make that decision and not the parties and promoters. We had some discussions with Hearn. For us, the most important thing is to fight the heavyweight champion and this is Anthony Joshua. This fight will take place. The big question is when this fight will happen – in November this year or in March next year? This is the only thing that has to be decided yet.
What kind of deal has Eddie Hearn proposed to you?
I can’t speak about that on the phone. Nice question, next one.
The IBF has a convention coming this weekend. What do you expect from the meeting?
We need clarity. Kubrat is an athlete. He wants to train. He wants to have a schedule. He is a boxer in his prime, always in shape, training hard. He is ambitious and motivated. I understand him. He wants to know what the plan is and he wants to fight for the world title. And his desire is to fight against the guy, who is holding the belt and this is Anthony Joshua. We don’t want the belt to be taken away from him. This is not the right way. But if this is the only way, then we will fight for the vacant belt. At the end of the day, our first wish is to fight Anthony Joshua for the world title.
Is there an option that Kubrat Pulev would fight in a warm-up fight in Cardiff for the interim title at a possible Joshua – Klitschko II card?
I don’t think that there is a chance that we will fight for an interim title. It’s not against the rules to make such fight if Anthony Joshua is injured.
Are you in a contact with IBF #3 Carlos Takam’s people and if Joshua – Klitschko II fight will happen and IBF took the belt from Joshua, to make a fight with Takam?
Takam is fighting in June. I am sure he will be available for world title fight. I know quite well his promoter. We haven’t spoken with anyone about Takam. I don’t know if he will be the other challenger for a vacant belt. It looks obvious that it would be him, but it could be someone else. For now, our focus is Anthony Joshua. If he doesn’t want to fight Pulev, which I don’t believe because I was told that he wants to. Eddie Hearn told us that Joshua wants to fight Pulev. Of course, the Joshua-Klitschko fight was great for the sport of boxing. I understand why they want to make the rematch. But I never heard Wladimir Klitschko say that he wants a second fight. I only heard Joshua wants a rematch. Klitschko hasn’t made a decision. It’s strange for me why we still don’t have clarity about that. We are now speaking about speculations. The rematch will be something special, but we won’t step aside only because this is a special fight. Kubrat Pulev will not wait. We want assurances that we are going to fight the world champion.
Do you think that Kubrat Pulev will have a warm up fight before a match against Joshua or another opponent for the vacant IBF belt?
If Klitschko – Joshua 2 will be allowed, of course we will have a tune up fight.
Ognian Georgiev is a Bulgarian sports journalist and author of the book “The White Prisoner: Galabin Boevski’s Secret Story”. You may find more about him on his blog: http://ogigeorgiev.wordpress.com/
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