Anthony Joshua’s first appearance in his new phase as World Boxing Association (WBA) Heavyweight Super Champion was a success. The Briton knocked out Kubrat Pulev in spectacular fashion in the ninth round on Saturday night to make the first defense of his belts at Wembley Arena in London.
Joshua had just regained his belts in December 2019 when he beat Andy Ruiz in a rematch, but the pandemic break had forced him out of the ring for a year. His return was unbeatable and he dominated the difficult Bulgarian challenger from start to finish to put the finishing touch on the ninth round with a knockout and retain his WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO belts.
A combination of uppers in that round sent Pulev to the canvas. Joshua was able to surprise the veteran with his hook to the chin combinations to send him to the canvas. Although Pulev got up, he was quite damaged and was easy prey for Joshua, who connected a straight to the jaw that knocked him down again for the referee to count to 10 and declare “AJ” the winner.
Joshua was able to use the distance and set up the fight well on the counterpunch. In the third round, he had already managed to knock Pulev down with a right-handed punch in a warning of the superiority he showed throughout the course of the fight.
The 31-year-old boxer sent out a message to all the rivals in the division and showed that he is still at the top of the category. He won the 24th victory in his career and his 22nd KO, while he has only one setback.
Pulev left his balance in 28 wins, 2 losses, and 14 KOs.