By News Team
Last Updated: 11th December 2020
Anthony Joshua returns to the ring for the first time since his two-time world title victory in Saudi Arabia, where he’ll face Bulgarian challenger Kubrat Pulev, for the WBA (Super), WBO, IBF and IBO heavyweight titles.
Elsewhere on the card, fellow Brit Lawrence Okolie takes on Nikodem Jezewski, with the winner set to challenge for the WBO Cruiserweight world title next.
AJ: Brawler, or boxer?
After reclaiming his belts in the city of Riyadh almost a year ago to this day, Anthony Joshua is back on top of the world, and one win away from making the fight on the tip of everyone’s lips – Anthony Joshua vs Tyson Fury.
IBF mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev stands in his way, a man beaten only by Wladimir Klitschko in his 11-year career as a professional, and who boasts wins over Derek Chisora, Tony Thompson, Hughie Fury, Alexander Ustinov, among others.
But it’s a style that Joshua has faced before. Alexander Povetkin, Dillian Whyte and Dominic Breazeale are all tall, rangy, heavy-handed fighters, and they all have something in common… They have all been knocked out by Anthony Joshua.
The Briton is a fighter reborn, however. After falling at the hands of Andy Ruiz in June last year, Joshua set-out a plan to replenish his arsenal and returned to master the basics.
What followed was a stick and move boxing masterclass against Ruiz in the rematch, but one that was received with criticism by fans. Was this the new Anthony Joshua?
On Saturday night, we will get to see Joshua return to the ring for the first time since that night in Saudi, and whether he will combine what his fans have come to love – the brawler, with what he, on occasion, must do to see his hand raised – the boxer.
Okolie ready to take on the world?
Lawrence Okolie’s professional career has lasted just over three years, and yet, he is knocking on the door for a world title shot.
It’s been a rapid rise for the unbeaten Brit from Hackney, who blew up after British and Commonwealth title victories over Matt Askin and Luke Watkins in 2018 and has since gone on to add the European title to his collection.
Unbeaten in 14 professional fights, Okolie was scheduled to fight Krzysztof Glowacki for the WBO world title on Saturday evening, but as his opponent dropped out, he has had to settle for Polish opponent Nikodem Jezewski, unlikely to fight for the world title given the re-shuffle.
It’s a stern test but one that the 27-year-old will be expected to come through with ease, and it’s an opportunity to prove those who believe he has an uninteresting, slow fighting style at rest, and look strong with a stoppage.