Less Talk More Action
Less talk more action was the phrase used by partially unified heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua last night following a destructive performance against the ageing but dangerous Bulgarian Kabret Pulev.
The night began with many questions, did AJ bare the scars of the Ruiz Jnr defeat? Was he going to be safety first? How dangerous is Pulev? Is he too old? All of which were answered conclusively in an intriguing but one-sided contest.
The opening round was very cagey with perhaps one jab landing between the two fighters. Both looked trim and ready but obviously cautious of the other’s power. AJ stepped up the pace in the second, using his lightning-fast jab to good effect, Pulev would try a wild left hook but was far off the mark.
In the third round, it looked as if the fight may be over when Pulev found himself walking away into the ropes after a barrage of shots, including Joshua’s trademark uppercut. The Bulgarian hit the deck after a solid right hand but managed to make it up for the count and see out the round.
Uncharacteristically, Anthony Joshua didn’t put his foot on the gas in the fourth to finish the fight, and instead allowed Pulev to regain himself and fight on. Perhaps he had echoes of the Klitschko and Ruiz Jnr. fights, where he went for broke and came unstuck, or maybe he just has a wiser head on his shoulders now.
Pulev showed his ambitions were still there in the fourth and landed a cracking right hand on Joshua’s jaw. A warning that things can turn very quickly in heavyweight boxing. The proceeding rounds followed a similar pattern with AJ dominating behind his jab and Pulev mostly on the receiving end, occasionally giving the champion something to think about.
The ninth round was perhaps one of the most clinical of Joshua’s career and one that demonstrated where he’d combined his venom and wisdom. After an opening jab through the guard, he threw a perfect uppercut that pulled Pulev from his senses.
The Bulgarian didn’t know which way to turn as the world heavyweight champion continued to pop them up through the gap, each strike connecting with his chin. The ropes gave him sanctuary and he climbed to his feet to beat the count. Playtime was over now and sensing the time was right, Anthony Joshua finished what he had started. A beautiful, unadulterated, one, two combinations straight down the pipe and decisively finished the job. AJ walked to the corner, Pulev scrambled around on the canvas and that was all she wrote.