Good evening, and welcome to our live blog of Anthony Joshua vs Kubrat Pulev. We will be bringing you live round-by-round fight updates from Wembley Arena, with the main event set to start after 10pm. In the meantime we will have build up, news, analysis and then action from the undercard from 8pm or so.
The fight will be shown on Sky Sports Box Office for the chunky fee of £24.95 so if you’d feel like shelling out for that, then I hope that this live blog will see you right.
There was a good bit of argy-bargy at the weigh in. Joshua tipped the scales at 17 stone 2 pounds, a lot lighter than he was against Andy Ruiz. As he stepped off the weighing machine, Pulev got in his face and there was a stand-off between the two men. The Bulgarian had told AJ that his time as champ was coming to an end and AJ, normally a cool customer in these situations, reacted. They didn’t come to blows, although Joshua said: “I would have clapped him on his jaw there and then.”
Pulev weighed in almost identically. At 39 this is his last best hope, and he brings a record of 28 wins from 29 pr fights. Only Wladimir Klitschko has blemished that record. He has an A+ jab, and will look to control the distance fighting. AJ is quicker and hits harder but it will remain to be seen if he goes for the hit and move approach that worked successfully, although not very entertainingly, against Ruiz in the rematch. Or will AJ go looking for the knockout?
Of course, with all due respect to Pulev, this is a stepping stone for AJ. The fight that the British sporting world wants to see is Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua. And you can bet Eddie Hearn wants to see that as well. Defeat for AJ tonight would be a major spanner in the works, and indeed from a business point of view is just unconscionable. But sport is no respecter of all that…
AJ is putting his three world titles on the line tonight. He’s said to be getting ten million pounds, and Pulev three. Talking of money, there are 1,000 fans at Wembley Arena tonight, paying between £100 and £1,000 for the privilege. If you’re of a betting persuasion, here are our tips. I mentioned Fury just now, his brother Hughie is fighting on the undercard.
Crowds at live sport, Saturday night, what more do you want? Coverage coming up. Eddie Hearn says: “Never mind about Fury, that is irrelevant. This is about winning tonight by any means necessary. He can bore me to death if he wants but he has to win.”