The dance is now over.
Bulgarian heavyweight boxer Kubrat Pulev will fight Anthony Joshua on June 21 at the new Tottenham Hotspur stadium.
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We’ve been here before, of course. The two were due to do battle in the ring back in 2017 before Pulev, 38, pulled out of the bout at the eleventh hour.
But now the 2008 European Championship gold medallist is the next in line to fight AJ. Pulev has been plagued by controversy in the past though.
Last year he had his boxing licence suspended when he forcibly kissed a female reporter on the lips during an interview, and that’s not all.
Almost three years ago, Pulev and Joshua were supposed to fight each other at Cardiff’s Principality.
However, 11 days before the scheduled bout Pulev injured his shoulder in training and had to pull out.
Carlos Takam stepped in at short notice, and Joshua finished the tough Frenchman in ten rounds.
Later Pulev said he could’ve made it to the ring for the £4m payday, but knew he wouldn’t have been able to give the best account of himself.
“It wasn’t easy for me to make that decision,” Pulev said.
”I know, in my place, almost everyone would choose to get into the ring in Cardiff, despite everything, and collect a few million.
“Anyone else, but not me. I can beat Joshua … but I can’t beat him if I’m injured.”
In March 2019, after defeating Bogdan Dinu in Costa Mesa, California, Pulev forcibly kissed female journalist Jennifer Ravalo, as well as reportedly “groped her buttocks”.
She asked: “If Tyson Fury gets through Tom Schwarz, do you think you should have a shot?”
He immediately replied “yes” before he put his hand on her chin and kissed her on the lips.
Bruh wtf is this interview man lmao! Pulev is alpha af. (Watch until end) pic.twitter.com/sUoiqFprhi
The California State Athletic Commission immediately suspended Pulev, however his brother responded by sharing a video of Ravalo dancing with a member of Pulev’s entourage on that same night.
Pulev denied any wrongdoing.
“Everyone knows me as a friendly and polite person,” he told BILD.
“The woman came to me [at the weigh-in] and said, ‘After the fight, we party.’”
The heavyweight contender was slapped with a $2,500 fine as well as the six month suspension from boxing and could only regain a license if he completed a sexual harassment awareness course.
Four months later, Pulev had his boxing licence reinstated by the CSAC after he completed the class.
He was warned if he was to pull the same stunt again, he’d have his licence revoked again.
Pulev’s long-term girlfriend is a blonde bombshell with a big voice.
The fighter has dated pop star Andrea, 32, since 2006, and she regularly tweets about his success.
Andrea, real name Teodora Rumenova Andreeva, stuck by her man after ‘Kissgate’, sharing a picture of the pair of them sharing a smooch the day after the allegations came to light.
During her teenage years she won numerous beauty pageants including Miss Sofia and Miss Tourism Bulgaria.
She has won over 30 awards like “Balkan Star” on “Beogradski Pobednik” in Belgrade, “European Performer of the Year on “Kralevski Festival” in Kraljevo Serbia, “Balkan Star” on “Montefolk Awards” in Montenegro.
And Andrea is hugely popular on social media, amassing over 320,000 followers on Instagram.
ONE BLIP ON HIS RECORD
Pulev boasts a professional fighting record of 28-1, with the only man to defeat him being someone Joshua has beat in the past.
In 2014, Pulev fought Wladimir Klitschko at the O2 World Arena in Hamburg and met his match.
In a one-sided duel he was knocked down three times before Klitschko put him out of his misery and knocked him down one final time with a devastating left-hook in the fifth.
“Wladimir is a really good opponent, but he was lucky. I want a rematch,” Pulev said after the fight.
He never got one.
Huge knockout – Wladimir @Klitschko KO Kubrat Pulev – One of the best knockouts of 2014 #boxing #boxen pic.twitter.com/Oc08DucwOr
He’s not called ‘The Pride of Bulgaria’ for nothing.
Named after a Bulgarian medieval ruler, and born in Sofia, Pulev could never align himself with another nation.
But over the years, he has declined several lucrative financial offers to fight for Germany.
However, Pulev views it as a matter of principle and has said he would never change his national allegiance.
Germany’s loss is Bulgaria’s gain, and he will be wearing their flag when he steps into the ring with Joshua next.
This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission.
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