Tyson Fury is expecting Kubrat Pulev to beat Anthony Joshua and scupper plans for a heavyweight unification super-fight.
Fury, 32, and Joshua, 31, are edging closer to agreeing a lucrative two-bout deal for next year which could see all four major belts on the line.
But in the meantime AJ must come through the challenge of Pulev, 39, this Saturday. Bulgarian contender Pulev’s only professional defeat came against Wladimir Klitschko in 2014.
WBA, WBO, and IBF world champion Joshua has fought just once since he suffered a huge upset at the hands of Andy Ruiz Jr. in June 2019, avenging his defeat to the American last December.
Fury, who holds the WBC belt, is not convinced his fellow Brit is capable of beating Pulev and is preparing to face “other fighters”, according to his American promotor Bob Arum.
Arum – who also represents Pulev – said: “Pulev is big, rugged. Joshua is vulnerable and I really feel that Pulev will not only beat him, but will knock him out.
“It will disappoint my other guy, the WBC champion Tyson Fury, who is looking forward to fighting Joshua.
“I talked to Tyson yesterday and we were making plans for him to fight other fighters. Because he agrees with me – there is a great chance Pulev will upset the apple-cart and beat Joshua.”
Fury previously fired a warning about Pulev’s power to Joshua as he predicted a close fight at Wembley Arena.
The Gypsy King told iFL TV in September: “It’s heavyweight boxing, especially someone as big as they are, either could win.
“If Andy Ruiz can knock Joshua out, then Pulev definitely can. Pulev’s a lot bigger guy and punches probably harder than Ruiz does.”
Pulev’s CV includes a split decision win over Derek Chisora in 2016 and a unanimous decision victory over Hughie Fury, Tyson’s cousin, two years later.