Anthony Joshua has knocked out Kubrat Pulev in the ninth round of his IBF, WBO and WBA heavyweight title defence at Wembley’s SSE Arena in London.
Joshua, 31, knocked Pulev down twice in the third round, before repeating the feat in the ninth, ending the fight with a vicious right hook which left the Bulgarian unable to beat the count.
It was a dominant performance from the English boxer, who is now on course for a mega-fight against his compatriot and rival Tyson Fury in 2021, in front of 1,000 fans at the SSE Arena.
After a cautious opening round, Joshua began to let his hands go against his 39-year-old opponent in the second.
AJ came close to ending the fight in the third, with Pulev turning his back to the Englishman, before being sent crashing to the canvas from a juddering right hook later in the round.
A badly hurt Pulev, whose only previous defeat came at the hands of Wladimir Klitschko, managed to survive the round.
Joshua continued to control the fight, though Pulev grew more wild and aggressive in the next few rounds, despite being caught with multiple uppercuts.
Joshua floored Pulev again in the ninth with a jarring uppercut.
Pulev beat the count, but immediately hit the canvas again when Joshua unloaded another ferocious right hook.
The Bulgarian did his best to get back to his feet, but the referee waved the fight off.
After the fight, Joshua stated his intent to fight Fury next.
“Whoever has got the belt, I would love to compete with them,” the 2012 Olympic gold medallist said.
“If that is Tyson Fury, let it be Tyson Fury.
“It’s no big deal. It’s one fight at a time, picking them off one by one. That’s all it’s about for me. I’ve got to stay focused.”
Promoter Eddie Hearn vowed to start negotiations with Fury over a colossal heavyweight clash.
“Starting from tomorrow, we make the Tyson Fury fight straight away,” he told Sky Sports.
“It’s the only fight to be made in boxing. It’s the biggest fight in boxing. It’s the biggest fight in British boxing history.”
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