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Joshua vs Pulev prediction: Yeah, that makes sense for several reasons

Lee Cleveland Updated
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Trainer Kevin Barry predicts Joshua vs Pulev but there's more to this than meets the eye. It's not the prognostication itself that's so revealing.

Unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua will likely face his IBF mandatory opponent, Kubrat Pulev, next.

Of course, his WBO mandatory, Oleksandr Usyk, is the preferred opponent among fans. And Usyk is seemingly the more dangerous fighter and more intriguing foe. However, Pulev will be next for AJ because he's the right opponent at the right time.

Joshua vs Pulev prediction
Trainer Kevin Barry, a former Olympic silver medalist and mentor of former WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker, predicts AJ will win via an impressive knockout but there's more to this than meets the eye. It's the prognostication itself that's so revealing, it's the big picture.

"I think the fight is tailor-made for Joshua - especially after the 12 round boxing display that he put on against Andy Ruiz, Barry told BoxingScene.com.

"Pulev is not a guy with a lot of movement. A guy with not a lot of power. You just have to look at his knockout ratio and a guy that is pretty close to 40 so he ticks a lot of boxes. He is a fighter that they spent a lot of time and energy promoting and marketing to fight Joshua early on his career only for him to pull out with injury so I think it is a great fight for Anthony Joshua."

"It is a fight that should end with an explosive knockout."

"I think that Eddie Hearn is looking for a spectacular performance ]from Joshua] and I think Pulev brings that," Barry added.

In June, we saw an overconfident Joshua get knocked out by late replacement who was supposed to be a relatively soft touch given the circumstance. And in December, we witnessed a gun shy version of the Brit regain his belt. Yes, AJ soundly outboxed Andy Ruiz but it was a bout only a proponent of non violence could enjoy.

The meaning behind Trainer Barry's prediction is accurate; Joshua's promoter, Eddie Hearn, wants to buy a little time and ensure AJ's confidence and public stock are fully restored before having him step in with Usyk, Tyson Fury or Deontay Wilder.

Keep in mind, Joshua hasn't looked like a destructive force of nature since his September 2018 TKO win over Alexander Povetkin. Moreover, the argument can be made he's failed to sizzle in 3 of his last 4 fights.

And let's not forget Anthony's lackluster, although well-deserved, points win over Joseph Parker in March 2018.

The Pulev fight, for the reasons Barry mentioned above, should serve as an opportunity for AJ to get his grove back.

Heading into Joshua vs Pulev, the biggest question won't be the outcome; it'll be 'Did Anthony Joshua get his grove back?'

Will AJ look like a fearsome heavyweight champion? Will his performance have fans salivating for match-ups against Usyk, Wilder and Fury? And will Joshua restore the brutish, bullying confidence he seemed to have lost in his bouts with Andy Ruiz?

Last year, trainer Kevin Barry successfully predicted the outcomes of Tyson Fury vs Otto Wallin and the rematch between Deontay Wilder and Luis Ortiz. However, he inaccurately speculated both fights would be relatively easy for the victors, Fury and Wilder.

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