Kubrat Pulev claims beating Anthony Joshua will make him a bigger deal than Bulgaria’s World Cup hero and Barcelona legend Hristo Stoichkov in his homeland – and insists he ‘won’t be surprised’ if he becomes his country’s first heavyweight champion TONIGHT
- Kubrat Pulev thinks he can become as big a star in Bulgaria as Hristo Stoichkov
- Stoichkov played for Barcelona and is the country’s biggest sporting icon
- Pulev believes beating Anthony Joshua can elevate him to the same status
Kubrat Pulev believes he will become as big a star in Bulgaria as the country’s football hero Hristo Stoichkov if he defeats Anthony Joshua on Saturday night.
Stoichkov is Bulgaria’s greatest ever sporting icon after winning the Golden Boot at the 1994 World Cup, where he led his country to an unexpected semi-final appearance.
He is also considered a Barcelona legend and played alongside current manager Ronald Koeman. Stoichkov won 13 trophies during two spells at the Nou Camp, including five LaLiga titles and the Champions League.
Kubrat Pulev (left) believes he can become as big a star in Bulgaria as Hristo Stoichkov (right)
Stoichkov won 13 trophies at Barcelona and played alongside current boss Ronald Koeman (L)
He also played for CSKA Sofia and managed the Bulgaria national team between 2004 and 2007.
Pulev, who is good friends with the former footballer, believes he will be considered as much of a hero if he can cause an upset against Joshua and become his country’s first ever heavyweight world champion.
‘He is my friend, Stoichkov, he is a good man and a very good guy. I know most of the famous people in Bulgaria,’ Pulev said.
Pulev believes beating Anthony Joshua will elevate him to the same status as Stoichkov
‘He is a good friend because we have one restaurant and he lives near it and every time when he is in Bulgaria, he calls me and we sit and eat together, joke together.
‘Will I be as big a star as him if I win? Yes. In my country, for sure.’
There will be 1,000 fans in attendance at Wembley’s SSE Arena to watch Joshua defend his WBA, WBO and IBF world titles against Pulev.
The two were originally due to fight in Cardiff in 2017 but a shoulder injury saw Pulev replaced by Carlos Takam.
The Tottenham Hotspur stadium had been set to host the rescheduled June date before it was postponed in April.
Pulev believes he can cause a shock similar to when Andy Ruiz Jr beat Joshua in 2019, but insisted his victory would not be a surprise.
He added: ‘There is a rematch clause. But we will see. When I win now, and win good and clean, then maybe he doesn’t want it.
‘I don’t believe he will want a rematch with me because with Ruiz, it was a surprise.
‘Everybody was surprised, I was surprised and the whole world was surprised.
‘Me winning will not be a surprise for me.’