Wednesday, 26 April 2017
Pulev risks IBF mandatory status against Johnson on Friday.
Popular Bulgarian heavyweight Kubrat Pulev (24-1, 13 KOs) and Kevin Johnson (30-7-1, 14 KOs) came face-to-face at a press conference yesterday at the Hotel Marinela in Sofia, ahead of their WBA Intercontinental title bout on Friday 27th at the Arena Armeec.
Pulev will be making the first defense of the belt he grabbed with a 3 round stoppage of former World Champion Sam Peter last December, and in doing so risks his mandatory IBF mandatory standing, a position that could see him a prime candidate to face the victor of Saturday’s World title showdown in London.
New Jersey native Johnson, himself a former World title challenger, is eager to prove that he is not just in Bulgaria for a vacation, is nurturing ambitions of his own second shot at a Championship, viewing the upset over Pulev as a springboard, back to the bigtime.
Having taken in the atmosphere of Sofia, Johnson also revealed his plans to leave Bulgaria with two souvenirs. ‘’The women here are very beautiful,’’ he said. ‘’And I’m looking to get married. On Saturday, I’m going to be leaving with a new belt and a new wife!’’
Promoter Nisse Sauerland echoed both fighters sentiments, "It’s a great weekend for heavyweight boxing. Kubrat is mandatory challenger to face the winner of Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko for the IBF World title. Either they fight him or they vacate the belt. He’s fought hard to get back into this position, and he’s risking it all in this fight against a rejuvenated Kevin Johnson. Kevin also knows what’s at stake and what a win would mean for his career. Both men have been training hard, and are ready to give it their all in the ring on Friday night.’’
Pulev isn't looking past Johnson, but insists that he will not be denied on Friday, offering Johnsons chances as slim to zero..
Pulev came through a tough bout last May, prior to the Peter fight, scoring a points victory by the slimmest of margins over former WBC title challenger Derrick Chisora, while Kevin's last appearance was a stoppage loss at the hands of future IBF champion Anthony Joshua..