IBF and WBA world heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua was “p***ed off” when he was told his opponent Kubrat Pulev had withdrawn from their October 28 showdown.
Joshua was due to box Pulev, his mandatory challenger with the IBF, in front of 80,000 people at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.
However, two weeks before the fight, Pulev suffered a pectorial injury and the fight collapsed.
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn had another heavyweight, Carlos Takam, on stand-by, so the show will go on — but Hearn said on Monday evening that Joshua was left disappointed by the situation.
“He had the disappointment of the Wladimir Klitschko rematch [that did not happen], then Pulev falling through… he was a bit p***ed off to be honest with you,” Hearn told iFL TV.
“But he knows Takam, he quite rates him, and knows he’s tough so he knows it’s a real fight.”
Hearn was only told about the injury to Pulev on Monday afternoon. Robert McCracken, Joshua’s trainer, called Hearn to ask him if he had seen the internet rumours that Pulev had suffered an injury.
Hearn then called Pulev’s promoter Kalle Sauerland to discover that “Pulev had injured his shoulder and this was later confirmed by his doctor.”
In a press release issued to Business Insider, Hearn added: “IBF rules state that the mandatory will go to the next fighter in line which is Carlos Takam.”
“When the Pulev fight was announced I made a deal with Takam’s team to begin camp and be on standby for this fight.
“When I called them this evening they were overjoyed and good to go. It’s a difficult position for AJ having prepared meticulously for the style and height of Pulev, he now faces a completely different style and challenge in Takam — this hasn’t happened in his career before but he is ready for all comers on October 28.”
On the different challenge Joshua now faces, Hearn told iFL TV: “I think you get more rounds out of Takam. It’s a different fight to Pulev.
“Pulev is taller, more awkward. And Takam is shorter, comes forward, swings them in, with a great chin, and is very durable. I’m pleased to get it done.”
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