Anthony Joshua retained his IBF, WBA (Super) and WBO titles in style with a devastating ninth-round knockout of Kubrat Pulev at Wembley’s SSE Arena in London on Saturday night in front of 1,000 fans.
“Less talk, more action,” Joshua said afterward. “I hope you were satisfied tonight.”
It was all Joshua from the opening bell as he worked behind the jab and refused to allow Pulev to find a rhythm. After two relatively tame rounds, Joshua unloaded a huge right hand that rocked his opponent. Pulev smiled but Joshua knew what he had in front of him and launched a barrage of punches with bad intentions. Pulev turned his back from the punishment as the referee started a count for the first knockdown. Pulev returned to action and was met with a pair of uppercuts that sent him to the mat.
Pulev would survive the round, but the clock was ticking.
Joshua remained patient behind a sharp jab until he found his opening again in the ninth round when he unleashed a quartet of uppercuts, the final one sending his opponent to the canvas. Pulev (28-2) would rise but was clearly on shaky legs. Joshua took advantage of his wounded opponent and cut loose a pull counter right hand that wiped Pulev out. The referee unnecessarily completed the count to 10 and secured Joshua the victory at 2:58 of the round.
And with that brutal knockout, the attention immediately turned to a highly anticipated showdown with WBC champion Tyson Fury to determine who is the undisputed king of the heavyweights.
“I’m up for anything,” Joshua said about a potential Fury showdown. “I started this game. I’ve been chasing the belts. It’s not about the opponent; it’s about the titles and becoming undisputed. It doesn’t matter. If that person is Tyson Fury, let it be Tyson Fury. Let’s do it.”
Joshua (24-1, 21 KOs) secured his first stoppage in two years; his last was of Alexander Povetkin in September 2018.
Joshua vs. Pulev results
Round 9 (6:28 p.m.): Joshua pumps the jab in Pulev’s face. Short left hook by Joshua. Four uppercuts land by Joshua. Pulev just allows them to hit him in the grill. Joshua crushes Pulev with another uppercut. Down he goes. He’s hurt badly. Wobbling around. Joshua SMOKES Pulev with a right hand. Down he goes. GOOD NIGHT!
Round 8 (6:24 p.m.): Pulev has no chance to win on points but will he take a chance. Pulev lands a hard right hand. Joshua continues to land that jab to the body. Joshua with a pair of jabs and a right hand. You know how this round ends. 10-9, Joshua (80-70, Joshua)
Round 7 (6:20 p.m.): Joshua lands a right hand and a short hook. Jab to the body. A lot of clinching as Pulev rushes in. A trio of uppercuts land by Joshua. Pulev with a lot of rabbit punches. 10-9, Joshua (70-61, Joshua)
Round 6 (6:16 p.m.): Pulev lands a short right hand to open the 6th. He’s shaken off the damage from the 3rd round. Short left from Joshua lands. Pulev doesn’t show much but the same one-two. It’s one sided. Only thing in question is when the knockout will come. 10-9, Joshua (60-52, Joshua)
Round 5 (6:12 p.m.): Joshua stays composed and works the jab. Pulev following him around but not doing much of anything. Jab and right hand form AJ rattles Pulev. Pulev lands a right hand. Another round for AJ. 10-9, Joshua (50-43, Joshua)
Round 4 (6:08 p.m.): Joshua is smiling at Pulev. Joshua begins working behind the jab. Pulev attacks with a right hand that barely misses AJ. Joshua is patient. Looking for another opening to unload but Pulev hasn’t given him one. 10-9, Joshua (40-34, Joshua)
Round 3 (6:04 p.m.): Pulev advances and throws and Joshua ducks under it. Joshua puts a right hand behind the jab that lands. Pulev misses a right hand and Joshua crushes him with a right hand. Joshua smashes him again and Pulev smiles. After smiling, Joshua nukes Pulev with another combination and Pulev turns his back for a count. Joshua SMASHES him with a pair of uppercuts and down goes Pulev! Pulev survives the round but he got SMOKED. 10-7, Joshua (30-25, Joshua)
Round 2 (6 p.m.): Joshua aiming to unload that right hand. Popping the jab. Nothing really landing. One pops Pulev’s head back. Joshua with a combination. Pulev misses a sweeping right and Joshua smacks him with a jab. Pulev hasn’t really done a thing in there. Will he get active soon? 10-9, Joshua (20-18, Joshua)
Round 1 (5:56 p.m.): Pulev and Joshua meet in the center of the ring. Neither doing much for the first minute. Joshua lands a jab and a right hand. Joshua looks gigantic in there. Not a whole lot here. Joshua with a few jabs. 10-9, Joshua
5:43 p.m.: Kubrat Pulev has entered the ring to a chorus of boos from the 1,000 fans in attendance. This is a noisy crowd that rivals full houses in big arenas. Anthony Joshua follows behind with a theatrical entrance. His initials are on fire near the walkway as pyro goes off behind him. He stares down Pulev. It’s about to go down.
5:33 p.m.: Floyd Mayweather Jr. has arrived just in time for the main event as Anthony Joshua and Kubrat Pulev make their final preparations.
5:10 p.m: As expected, Lawrence Okolie steamrolls Nikodem Jezewski. But it was frightening for a moment. An Okolie right hand to the body put Jezewski down early. But Jezewski would make it to his feet only to eat another right hand sends his body into convulsions. He wasn’t taking the punches well and the fight could have been stopped. Somehow, the fight is allowed to continued and Okolie lands another straight right hand puts him down in the 2nd round. Fortunately, the fight is stopped.
4:58 p.m.: The co-main event is up next as Nikodem Jezewski (19-0-1) steps in on five days to face Lawrence Okolie in cruiserweight action. Okolie (14-0) has been pegged as one to watch in the division and will aim to dominate his opponent.
4:46 p.m.: Perhaps the most remarkable thing to take place in this fight came courtesy of Fury’s corner, who somehow managed to turn that cut into a non-factor. Fury dominated every aspect of this fight and could be a problem for the lower end of top 10 heavyweights. Wach never was able to establish anything outside of being Fury’s punching bag. Judges saw the fight in favor of Fury with scores of 100-90, 100-90 and 99-91.
4:22 p.m.: Fury has found some success switching stances and landed some big shots on Wach. However, the stance switching has caused a clash of heads that caused a cut over the left eye of Fury that is pretty bad. It looks like it’s getting worse and the fight could be stopped sooner than later. If that happens, the fight would go to the scorecards and Fury should take the decision.
3:52 p.m.: Up next is a clash of heavyweights as Hughie Fury (24-3) faces Mariusz Wach. The first cousin of Tyson Fury enters the fight following a third-round knockout of Pavel Sour back in March. Wach (36-6) bounced back from his December loss to Dillian Whyte with a unanimous decision victory over Kevin Johnson.
3:47 p.m.: It appears that the judges favored Martin Bakole’s activity and jab over Kuzmin’s sharp counterpunching as Bakole took the unanimous decision with scores of 98-92, 97-93 & 96-94. Kuzmin’s lack of activity early on surely did him in and Bakole could factor into the heavyweight division sooner than later.
3:38 p.m.: We’re getting settled in for the final three fights of the night. Right now, Martin Bakole and Sergey Kuzmin are engaged in a closely contested fight as we enter the final round. Scorecards could go either way as both have had their moments. Bakole has been busy but Kuzmin has found his spots to land cleaner punches in the middle and late rounds.
Joshua vs. Pulev fight start time
- Date: Saturday, Dec. 12
- Time: 2 p.m. ET
- Joshua vs. Pulev: 5:30 p.m. ET
The Joshua-Pulev main card begins at 2 p.m. ET. Joshua and Pulev are expected to make their ring walks around 5:30 p.m. ET, although the time depends on the length of the earlier fights.
How to watch Joshua vs. Pulev
The Joshua vs. Pulev fight is available on DAZN in the United States and Canada, along with most territories around the world. (In the U.K. and Ireland, the fight is on Sky Sports Box Office.)
How much does Joshua vs. Pulev on DAZN cost?
A subscription to DAZN allows you to access the Joshua vs. Pulev fight.
In the United States, a monthly subscription is $19.99, and an annual subscription is $99.99. In Canada, a monthly subscription is $20 CAD, and an annual subscription is $150 CAD. (There is also a 30-day free trial in Canada.)
The subscription provides access to every live event and all of the on-demand programming on the streaming service.
To learn more about how to sign up for DAZN, and pricing in your region, visit DAZN.com .
Joshua vs. Pulev fight card
- Anthony Joshua vs. Kubrat Pulev for Joshua’s IBF, WBA (Super) and WBO heavyweight titles
- Lawrence Okolie vs. Nikodem Jezewski; cruiserweights
- Hughie Fury vs. Mariusz Wach; heavyweights
- Martin Bakole vs. Sergey Kuzmin; heavyweights
- Kieron Conway vs. Macaulay McGowan; super welterweights
- Florian Marku vs. Jamie Stewart; welterweights
- Qais Ashfaq vs. Ashley Lane; women’s super bantamweights