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Joshua v Pulev: ‘Tyson Fury questions can wait until after crucial fight’

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Venue: Wembley Arena Date: Saturday, 12 December
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live & BBC Sounds; live text coverage on the BBC Sport website & app

Anthony Joshua says he will answer no more questions about fighting Tyson Fury until after he faces a motivated Kubrat Pulev in London on Saturday.

“When people ask questions about Fury, in the back of my head I’m thinking my focus is Pulev,” said Joshua, 31.

“What I’ve learned is I’m not going to bother entertaining it anymore.”

Speaking to 5 Live Boxing, he added: “All the other conversations about future opponents can come the night after the fight.”

The bout, which will be broadcast on BBC Radio 5 Live, will take place in front of 1,000 fans.

“It’ll be good for them. My focus is Pulev,” he reiterated. “No disrespect to any fans coming in, I have a serious job I need to complete and I will enjoy the victory after.”

‘Vulnerable’ AJ and Pulev’s ‘character’

Joshau quote: When you put someone in an opportunity to change their life they are going to perform
Joshua has 23 wins from 24 fights while Pulev has 28 victories from 29 contests

Joshua will risk his IBF, WBA and WBO world titles against 39-year-old Pulev and talk continues to intensify over a fight with WBC champion Fury in which all four heavyweight titles could be contested for the first time.

Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn says he is “as close to 100%” as he can be that the fight will happen in 2021.

Fury’s co-promoter Bob Arum, meanwhile, finds himself torn, in that he wants to secure the historic bout but also helps guide the career of Pulev.

“I really feel Joshua is vulnerable,” 89-year-old Arum warned on Friday while predicting a knockout win for Pulev.

“I will greet that victory with the joy it brings to me. On the other hand it will disappoint one of my other fighters, Tyson Fury.”

At Thursday’s news conference, Pulev warned he has “everything” needed to become champion.

It will be his second crack at a world title, having suffered his only defeat in 29 outings at the hands of Wladimir Klitschko in 2014.

“Every heavyweight can bang, is strong and has some skill,” added Joshua, a 1-10 betting favourite.

“What separates us is character. What’s he fighting for? His father, who passed away. Also the chance to become Bulgaria’s first heavyweight champion.

“When you put someone in an opportunity to change their life they are going to perform.

“I fight for many reasons myself. Sometimes to prove people wrong. I fight for reasons like knowing this legacy doesn’t last forever, so while I’m doing it I’m going to do it the best I can.

“If Pulev wants to get in the way of me proving how great I can be then I’m looking forward to the challenge.

“When I’m looking at Pulev I’m thinking ‘that boy can’t beat me’.”

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