Kubrat Pulev has accepted IBF final eliminator against Dillian Whyte, says Nisse Sauerland
By Richard Damerell
Last Updated: 04/04/18 4:06pm
Kubrat Pulev has accepted an IBF final eliminator against Dillian Whyte and would be ready to fight in June, says the Bulgarian's promoter Nisse Sauerland.
The IBF have ordered Pulev to fight Whyte, with the winner becoming mandatory challenger for the belt held by Anthony Joshua, who completed a points win over Joseph Parker in Saturday's unification clash in Cardiff.
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Sauerland has confirmed the fit-again Pulev wants to earn another shot at Joshua after pulling out of an October fight through injury and hopes to reach a deal with Whyte's promoter Eddie Hearn.
"I just hope Dillian accepts it, we have," Sauerland exclusively told Sky Sports. "We have accepted the position and we're ready to go.
"We have worked with Eddie successfully for a number of years now. He is the most straightforward out there to work with and we believe we are as well. I think it's relatively easy.
"Everyone wants the Joshua fight now. Everyone wants a Deontay Wilder fight. Both guys are world champions, they deserve to be world champions, but both guys have weaknesses as we've seen. It's exciting at the moment, the heavyweight division."
Whyte has plenty of options to consider as he is the No 1 ranked contender by the WBC, while he also holds a lofty position with the WBA and could target Alexander Povetkin, or the winner of Manuel Charr's WBA 'regular' title defence with Fres Oquendo in Chicago on May 4.
But Sauerland believes Pulev, a popular star in his home country, could create enough revenue to lure Whyte to Bulgaria, but is also willing to face the Brixton man at The O2 on a potential date in June.
"My brother is already in touch with Eddie obviously, and so am I," said Sauerland. "The good thing is - both ways there is commercial value to it.
"In Bulgaria, Kubrat is a national hero, sells 20,000 [tickets] when he fights. Dillian obviously headlines at The O2, and is an interesting fighter in his own right. It's a big fight, either way we look at it.
June could work definitely. Kubrat's in training again, so it would work well. He's recovered from the injury and ready to go again.
"Two great contenders, great commercial interest, and a world title shot against Anthony Joshua on the line. The IBF don't mess around with mandatories. If you get in that mandatory spot, you're the mandatory.
"June could work definitely. Kubrat's in training again, so it would work well. He's recovered from the injury and ready to go again."
Whyte has voiced his desire to avenge a 2015 knockout by Joshua, the sole defeat on his professional record, while Pulev's only loss came via stoppage to Wladimir Klitschko in 2014.
"Dillian in himself has grown as a fighter," said Sauerland. "Since the Dereck [Chisora] fight, he's improved.
"The [Robert] Helenius one might not have been his best performance, but Robert Helenius is still a decent fighter, and against Lucas Browne as well.
"Kubrat isn't Lucas Browne or Robert Helenius. He's on a different level I believe."
Joshua defeated Carlos Takam, a late-notice replacement for the injured Pulev, last October in his most recent IBF mandatory defence.