Joshua KOs Pulev to retain heavyweight belts


By rediscovering the thrill of a brutal knockout, Anthony Joshua cleared the way to a shot at being the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.
With a big right hand that sent Kubrat Pulev, a durable but one-dimensional Bulgarian, to the canvas for a third and final time, Joshua secured a dominant ninth-round win in his U.K. homecoming on Saturday to retain the WBA, WBO and IBF belts.
It wasn’t long before the inevitable question was thrown at him: is WBC champion Tyson Fury next in what would be an all-British blockbuster to unify the four titles in boxing’s marquee division?
“Whoever has got the belt, I’d love to compete with them,” Joshua said. “If that is Tyson Fury, let it be Tyson Fury.”
If that felt a slightly non-committal response — and it was taken that way by Fury in a video message he released moments later — Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, left no room for debate.
“We know what we have to do starting from tomorrow: to make the Tyson Fury fight straightaway,” Hearn said, a big grin on his face.
“It’s the only fight to be made in boxing. It’s the biggest fight in boxing.”
An agreement in principle has already been reached on a two-fight deal between the two Britons for 2021. It just needed Joshua to dispatch Pulev in the first defense of his titles since regaining them in a rematch Andy Ruiz Jr. in Saudi Arabia a year ago. He did so in impressive fashion, mixing patience with his renowned power to subdue and then dismantle Pulev in front of the first crowd for a British boxing fight since the coronavirus outbreak.—AP

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