CARDIFF — Anthony Joshua says only a knockout will do when he defends his IBF and WBA world heavyweight titles against Kubrat Pulev on Oct. 28.
The English boxer has halted all 19 of his professional opponents and will be disappointed if he is taken the distance for the first time by Bulgarian Pulev (25-1, 13 KOs) — mandatory challenger for the IBF title — at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.
“You have to knock people out, it always adds a bit of value,” Joshua told reporters in Cardiff. “That’s like the cherry on top. No one comes to a boxing match to watch a 12 round fight, it does get boring unless it’s a brawl.
“If it’s a 12 round technical match where people aren’t getting hit, it does get boring. People need to see people getting knocked out I think.
“This is heavyweight boxing — you have to knock someone out. It’s the excitement, it’s not up to the judges because you’ve made the decision yourself. It shows that your timing is great, you’re the puncher in the division and the force to be reckoned with, and that aura is still intact.
“The lighter guys, you can understand it may not happen because there’s not as much weight behind the punches. But with the big guys, you have to knock people out.”
Joshua’s biggest win came in his last fight, when he got off the canvas to stop former champion Wladimir Klitschko in the 11th round on April 29.
Klitschko was floored three times in an entertaining encounter in front of a record-equalling 90,000 crowd at Wembley Stadium and the Ukrainian then announced his retirement last month.
Is there any opponent who Joshua can currently face to rival that night at the English national stadium?
“No, only [Deontay] Wilder, the hype of Wilder, but the fight has to live up to that and I don’t think the fight can live up to that,” Joshua told reporters in Cardiff.
American Wilder (38-0, 37 KOs), the WBC champion from Alabama, remains a while off and in the meantime Joshua says he will not struggle for motivation.
“Even if I have ten boring fights and that ten fights lead to that mega fight that people are waiting for,” Joshua said.
“We’re always going to be building towards exciting nights so I know that exciting night will be in the pipeline.
“I’m going into fourth year as a professional so I’ve still got a long way to go, I want to stay in boxing for another ten years. If I’m battling with motivation now it’s going to be a struggle. It’s hard enough as it it is this game. If you’re struggling with anything you might as well pack it in. You have to love every aspect of it.
“I’ve always just fought for fun.”
Despite his determination to continue his knockout streak, the IBF-WBA champion considers Pulev his toughest test yet other than Klitschko.
“100 percent, I can’t take him lightly,” Joshua added.
Pulev, 36, who was stopped by Klitschko in November 2014, is looking to expose some flaws he saw in Joshua against Klitschko, after the British boxer was floored in the sixth round.
“There were some weaknesses, he had some weaknesses, and he still has them,” Pulev told reporters at a press conference in Cardiff.
“I think the mistake Klitschko made was, he was not ready to risk it. I would have gone ahead with it.
“He has had a good career, however he has not had that experience. I started boxing 12 years ago and I’m a lot more experienced in amateur boxing than him.
“I have experience of the streets which is another advantage.”