Former WBO heavyweight title challenger Hughie Fury 21-1 (11) will get the chance to become the next challenger to Anthony Joshua’s heavyweight throne when he takes on Kubrat “The Cobra” Pulev 25-1 (13) in an IBF final eliminator in Sofia, Bulgaria on October 27.
The winner of the bout will join the rotation of mandatory contenders for IBF, WBA and WBO champion Joshua 21-0 (20). The 28-year-old Brit will face WBA and WBO number one contender Alexander Povetkin 34-1 (24) at Wembley Stadium in London on September 22, clearing the path for Joshua to face the winner of Pulev-Fury next year.
IBF number two ranked Pulev said that other leading heavyweights who were originally order to take the fight had refused while Fury, the IBF number five ranked contender, stepped up to the plate.
“Two have refused so far – [Dillian] Whyte and [Jarrell] Miller – but Fury has already said no problem and he will play,” said the 37-year-old Bulgarian to Sky Sports.
The number one contender position in the New Jersey-based sanctioning body’s rankings is currently vacant.
“The date is clear, October 27, the fight will be in Sofia,” said Pulev. “It looks like it’ll be a very interesting game. He is a good, young boxer.”
The fight will be Fury’s first meaningful fight since dropping a majority decision to then-WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker of New Zealand at Manchester Arena last September. The 23-year-old cousin of lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury bounced back with a fifth round TKO of British champion Sam Sexton in May.
Pulev was scheduled to face unified heavyweight champion Joshua last October but was forced to withdraw from the fight due to a training injury. Victory over Fury will put him in the box seat to make that fight happen.
“I sustained the injury – I’m a man after all, though I’m almost a superman – but now I’m fully recovered,” Pulev said. “This game (against Joshua) will take place, it’s getting near and I have to win.”