SOFIA (Reuters) – Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev has no regrets about pulling out of his fight against world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua due to a shoulder injury and says he has not given up hope of fighting the Briton.
Joshua, undefeated in 19 fights since turning professional in 2013, will now defend his IBF world title against Frenchman Carlos Takam in Cardiff on Oct. 28 in his first bout since defeating Wladimir Klitschko to win the WBA title in April.
Pulev said the chance to win the title was more important to him than the money on offer and he had decided to wait for another chance.
“It wasn’t easy for me to make that decision,” the 36-year-old told local media. “I know, in my place, almost everyone would choose to get into the ring in Cardiff, despite everything, and collect a few million.”
Pulev, one of Bulgaria’s most popular sportsmen, was confident he had the weapons to dethrone Joshua.
“I can beat Joshua … but I can’t beat him if I’m injured,” he said.
Pulev turned professional at 28 in September 2009, less than a year after winning the European amateur boxing title in Liverpool.
Known as The Cobra, he has held the European heavyweight title twice and challenged for the unified world heavyweight title in 2014, losing to Klitschko in Hamburg on a fifth-round knockout.
Pulev could be in for a long wait for a shot at Joshua, who is being lined up to face Cuban Luis Ortiz, the mandatory challenger for his WBA title, after the Takam fight.
(Reporting by Angel Krasimirov; Editing by Peter Rutherford)