Anthony Joshua dominated and picked apart his mandatory heavyweight challenger Kubrat Pulev, scoring a ninth-round knockout to retain his WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight titles at the SSE Arena, Wembley on Saturday.
And quickly in the third round he landed a right hook followed with a left hook and an uppercut which connected on the jaw of Pulev that sent him staggering and wobbling to canvass.
Joshua continued to make use of his jabs as he avoided close contact with the fast-punching opponent, which according to the Judges card was won by Pulev.
With the fight set to drag to 12th round, both boxers continued to find openings to be exploited and it was Joshua who saw an obviously tired Pulev and a combination of left hook and barrages of uppercuts knocked “The Cobra” as he is also known as to the canvass for the second time in the fight.
The fatigued and disoriented fighter luckily escaped the referee’s countdown only to return to action and was met with a big right-handed hook by the champion which ended the night for Pulev, thereby inflicting on him his second career defeat.
Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs) recorded four knockdowns against a determined challenger in Pulev (28-2, 14 KOs) en route to an impressive ninth-round TKO.
Joshua moves to 24-1 with his 22nd career knockout. Pulev, meanwhile, has suffered only his second professional loss and is now 28-2 with 14 wins inside the distance.
Undefeated WBC champion Fury holds the only major belt outside of Joshua’s grip and a meeting between them would be the biggest match in world boxing – after delivering this thrilling knockout in front of a crowd of 1,000 people plus boxing great Floyd Mayweather, Joshua moved a step closer to making it a reality.