ANTHONY JOSHUA makes his long-awaited return to the ring tonight, a little over a year after he reclaimed the unified heavyweight titles with a dominant performance against Andy Ruiz Jr in Saudi Arabia.
The Watford warrior's first bout on British soil in over two years – which takes place at the SSE Wembley Arena in London – will see him throw down with former world title challenger Kubrat Pulev.
Bulgarian bruiser Pulev enters his second world title fight as an underdog, with many expecting 'AJ' to steamroll the 39-year-old.
'The Cobra', however, is more than capable of springing a huge upset and handing the Brit his second professional loss.
SunSport's Chisanga Malata caught up with former WBO cruiserweight champion and Sky Sports boxing expert Johnny Nelson to break down Joshua's latest outing, which could tee up a blockbuster unification fight with WBC heavyweight king Tyson Fury…
Chisanga Malata: What Anthony Joshua are you expecting to see on Saturday night? Will we see the composed and methodical 'AJ' we saw against Andy Ruiz Jr last December?
JOHNNY NELSON: He has spoken about this. And when he's spoken about this, he's said he wants to get in there and get involved and have a tear up.
But the consensus is that he's got to use his discipline. Because it's not just about physically overpowering someone, it's about using your discipline and your boxing ability to deal with somebody. So he knows that, he understands that. So for him, I think he'll be stuck between the two. I think he'll box and dash.
I think this is the dress rehearsal for Tyson Fury down the line. He'll try things that he's worked on in training for this fight which he'll do in the Fury fight.
I'm not saying these guys are similar at all, what I'm saying is it's building blocks. And everything is a risk and everything is about a learning curve.
CM: Should Kubrat Pulev take confidence from Joshua's shock loss at Madison Square Garden last June?
JN: He knows there's a blueprint to beat him. He would've looked at how Andy Ruiz beat him the first time and know exactly what he's got to do.
Now there's a blueprint to beating Anthony Joshua, it's going to give an air of confidence to fighters who go in there with full belief in themselves that they can win because they know that he can be beaten.
CM: So it's safe to say he'll try to adopt a similar approach to Ruiz then?
JN:Would he box him long? He's the shorter of the two, so no, he wouldn't. Will he try to make him make a mistake and make him cross swords and fight in close? Yes, he will.
What shot will he be looking for? That whipping right hand over the top to the temple. Joshua's made for that.
He has a thudding jab. So he's going to hope he catches him coming in. That's what he's got to do.
CM: How will Pulev approach the early stages of the fight? Do you think he could go for broke early doors?
JN: I can see the first round being a fact-finding round. And for six or seven rounds after that, he'll be looking to engage Anthony Joshua. Remember, Pulev is 39 years old, and I retired about that age.
And what happens is at the backend of the fight, you know you've not got that freshness and extra gear to step it through. It's historic.
The same thing happened with [Wladimir] Klitschko – the back end of a fight, when you get to a certain age, you've not got that extra kick in the gear. That high-speed gear. So for Pulev, I believe he will try to put everything into it in the first half of the fight.
CM: What's Anthony Joshua's route to victory on Saturday night?
JN: He's got to box and use his feet, use his height, use his speed, use his youth and use his accuracy.
Draw him on. Make him use his legs, make him reach out, make him stroll the stretch and pick him off.
He's also got to practice the things he's been working on. And then in doing that, then box and dash. And when he makes mistakes, make him pay for it once you've caught that timing.
And in each round, you don't do it once, you do it twice and then you do it three times.
And then eventually, the whole round is him getting dashed. Box and dash.
But it's building blocks, you can't just jump in and try and blast somebody away. It's a game of chess.
You've got to build them up, set them up and make them make their own mistakes. That's what AJ needs to do.
CM: How do you see the fight ending?
JN: I see Anthony Joshua stopping Pulev inside ten rounds.
Watch Anthony Joshua vs Kubrat Pulev on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Box Office.
Source: Read Full Article