Pulev Makes Ruiz-Joshua 2 Prediction

Kubrat Pulev is the mandatory challenger to the IBF heavyweight championship, and he feels that if he gets his crack at the winner of Andy Ruiz Jr. vs. Anthony Joshua 2, he will be fighting Ruiz.

Pulev gained IBF mandatory status originally by defeating Hughie Fury in October 2018 and stayed busy by knocking out Bogdan Dinu in March, but he was suspended after his kissing of a reporter following the fight. After his license was reinstated, Pulev scored a decision win over Rydell Booker on November 9 to solidify his shot.

The sanctioning body is expected to order the winner of Ruiz-Joshua 2 to face Pulev, and Pulev feels Ruiz will be able to score another win — so long as he took training seriously.

“I think if Ruiz is seriously prepared, not lazy in training, I think he wins a second time,” Pulev said. “He’s a popular guy now, at this moment. There’s a lot of cars, all the time pictures everywhere. When he stays focused and serious with training, about boxing, I believe he will win. This time it’s not so easy to win, but I think he can win when he’s serious.”

After getting knocked down by Joshua in their original encounter on June 1, Ruiz dropped Joshua four times en route to a seventh-round TKO to win the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight titles, as well as handing Joshua’s his first pro defeat.

Ruiz had taken the fight on just one month’s notice after Jarrell Miller failed a drug test. It was boxing’s biggest modern upset, and it ranks alongside boxing’s biggest ever with James “Buster” Douglas stopping Mike Tyson and Hasim Rahman defeating Lennox Lewis.

This fight serves as Joshua’s rematch clause, and while Pulev is picking Ruiz, he knows it won’t be easy for the defending champ. He knows the former champ will come with a fire lit under him.

“This time it’s not so easy because I think Joshua this time will be different,” Pulev said. “He learned from his mistakes, and now I think his team and himself are maybe different. They’ll have a different strategy and they’re more serious. This loss he had, I think it’s because he thought, ‘I’ll just win easy.’ But it’s not like that.”

The Ruiz-Joshua 2 winner will also have to deal with a WBO mandatory challenger in Oleksandr Usyk.

Original Story: Boxing Scene

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