Boxing News At Five

Boxing News at Five: Pulev reveals Joshua contract is signed, Khabib says Mayweather fight should be 11 boxing rounds with one MMA round

Rosie Cohe/Showtime
All signs point to Anthony Joshua and Kubrat Pulev meeting in London on June 20, and Khabib Nurmagomedov suggests an idea to Floyd Mayweather

THERE appears to be some movement on the planned WBA, IBF and WBO world heavyweight title fight between Anthony Joshua and Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev.

Joshua, the champion, took to his various social media accounts this morning to post a picture of himself holding the belts, accompanied by the caption ‘June 20th’, while Pulev, his IBF mandatory challenger, used Facebook to tell the world he has signed to fight Joshua.

It is a fight that has been discussed for some time now, having supposed to happen back in 2017, and now it would seem all systems are go.

“The contract is already signed,” Pulev wrote. “I am happy to be able to show the world how strong I am.”

It is believed the venue for Joshua vs. Pulev will be London’s new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, which holds 62,300 people and has yet to host a boxing match. It is also believed Joshua’s preference was for both Pulev and Deontay Wilder to be paid handsome step-aside fees in order for the three-belt champion to fight Tyson Fury, owner of the WBC version of the title, instead.

Dereck Chisora vs Kubrat Pulev
Pulev beats Dereck Chisora

One fight that appears no closer to happening now than it did last year is a reported boxing/mixed martial arts hybrid contest between Floyd Mayweather and UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Pie in the sky to most, this is a fight that has been discussed by both men in recent months, though neither seem willing to commit to a date or even so much as a set of rules.

Instead, Mayweather continues to run his mouth in retirement and Nurmagomedov, one of the biggest stars in the world of MMA, gears up for a brilliant fight on April 18 against top contender Tony Ferguson.

“If you want to fight, come to the UFC,” Nurmagomedov, 31, said, as per MMAMania. “This is a real fight. I’m not boxer, I’m not just a wrestler, I am an MMA fighter.

“If interested, maybe we can make something like – my father talked about this before – maybe 11 rounds boxing, one round MMA. Like 11 rounds three-minute box and the last round five minutes MMA. If he makes this deal, I can fight.”

Of course, in a world in which this seems plausible, Nurmagomedov would first have to survive 11 rounds in Mayweather’s company before being able to use his noted wrestling and grappling skills in the final one. This would mean he would have to survive longer than Conor McGregor, who was stopped by Mayweather in 10 rounds in 2017, and last much, much longer than most who have witnessed the Russian’s rudimentary striking skills will expect.

“I don’t think he can knock me out in 11 rounds, and what’s he going to do last round?” said Khabib. “Five minutes with me, I’m going to take him down, I’m going to maul this guy. What’s he going to do?

“You know, of course in boxing he’s very good, I agree with you. But I don’t think he can knock me out.”

Make no mistake, there is as much chance of Khabib Nurmagomedov lasting the distance with Floyd Mayweather through 11 rounds as there is of this fight happening.

Conor McGregor
McGregor tried boxing but came up short (Esther Lin/Showtime)

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