Kubrat Pulev results: Did Bulgarian just win IBF heavyweight belt?
In an IBF heavyweight title elimination bout in Sofia, Bulgaria, homeboy Kubrat Pulev (26-1, 13 KOs) won a twelve round unanimous decision over Hughie Fury (21-2, 11 KOs).
Engaging in an ugly, clinch-filled bout from start to finish, the 37 year old Bulgarian withstood a shaky 8th Round to outbox his 24 year old foe down the stretch and prevail on the cards 117-111, 118-110, 115-113.
Now, Pulev is the IBF's mandatory opponent for champion Anthony Joshua who also owns the WBA and WBO versions of the heavyweight title.
But, will Joshua face Pulev anytime soon?
Let's not forget Joshua was slated to defend his title against Pulev last October when the Bulgarian, citing injury, pulled out of the fight about 10 days prior, leaving Team Joshua scrambling for a late replacement. And then Team Pulev mysteriously signed to face Fres Oquendo for the mock-up WBA (Regular) title, a poor man's version of the real and legit WBA title.
And guess what? Pulev vs Oquendo didn't take place either.
With a possible superfight with Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury hanging in the balance, Team Joshua may place Pulev far down in its pecking order of potential opponents. And even if Joshua doesn't face Wilder or Fury next, his team might opt for Jarrell Miller or Dillian Whyte instead.
... And that leads us to the IBF who has been rather strict lately about champions facing its mandatories.
Prior to his rematch with Canelo Alvarez last month, the IBF stripped Gennady Golovkin for facing Vanes Martirosyan last summer instead of mandated contender Sergiy Derevyanchenko (12-0, 10 KO). In fact, Derevyanchenko and Daniel Jacobs are fighting tonight for the now-vacant IBF middleweight strap.
If the IBF can strip Golovkin, then regarded as a top 3 pound-for-pound fighter in the world, they won't likely make exceptions for Joshua.
Did Pulev just win the IBF heavyweight title tonight?
It's a fair question.