Nigeria British Anthony Joshua has retained his World boxing title with a knockout of Bulgarian Pulev in the 9th round at The SSE Arena, Wembley, on Saturday night.
Three quick upper cut in the round sent Kubrat Pulev to the canvas and the 1,000 fans including Floyd Mayweather thundered their claps and shout of “Stand up for the Champion”.
AJ had started introducing his quick upper cuts in the 5th round and was very careful to keep Pulev at arm’s length. The bout would have ended in round five but for the ropes that Pulev held on to..
Floyd Mayweather sat at the ring side and hugs AJ after the victory.
The explosive performance from Joshua would have demanded the attention of Tyson Fury - they remain on a collision course to decide an undisputed champion in 2021.
Joshua barely broke eye contact with his challenger from the moment he strode over the top rope and into the ring, then their pre-fight fist bump was aggressive and intense.
When the punches began flying, Joshua landed a series of jabs and Pulev clipped him back with a left hook.
When Joshua let his hands go for the first time with a four-punch salvo in the second round, Pulev smiled sarcastically back at him.
Joshua smashed Pulev with a perfectly-timed right hand in the third round that badly hurt his challenger.
Joshua hunted him, desperate for the knockout, and landed a brutal barrage of uppercuts and hooks which eventually toppled Pulev to the canvas.
It seemed likely to be all over but Pulev, whose only previous loss in 29 fights was against Wladimir Klitschko, survived to the bell after which he threw an illegal shot that fizzed past the champion's face.
Joshua, eyes bulging and tongue out, stared a hole through Pulev and spoke to him as the next round was set to begin.
He regained his composure and, in the fifth, cracked home a big right hand which didn't budge Pulev, who ended the round strongly after some feisty back-and-forth trash talk.
A spiteful fight became gritty and rugged in the sixth when Pulev began winging wild swings that didn't hit their target, but did force ugly exchanges.
Three consecutive uppercuts from Joshua hurt Pulev in the seventh but still the tough Bulgarian would not cede ground.
Pulev then landed his best punch, a straight right hand, in the eighth.
But Joshua closed the show in the ninth with another colossal uppercut which crumpled Pulev to the floor for the second time.
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.
His first fight since avenging a shock defeat to Andy Ruiz Jr a year ago would have ended explosively in the third round had his challenger Pulev not possessed a warrior-like determination to continue when he was felled, but there was no escaping the eventual knockout.
The crowd at Wembley Arena are asked if they want to see Anthony Joshua fight Tyson Fury next. An absolutely, huge, unanimous 'yes'.
Wembley Stadium in the summer. It's what we all want to see. It's the fight that must happen in 2021.
AJ got five million pounds for the bout,
- Eniola Olatunji.