Kubrat Pulev has vowed to ‘destroy’ Anthony Joshua during their heated exchange at the weigh-in ahead of their heavyweight fight on Saturday.
Joshua returned to the ring for the first time this year to defend his IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO heavyweight titles against the 39-year-old Bulgarian.
But after the two fighters weighed in during Friday’s press conference the pair clashed and were forced to be separated by security.
‘It started when AJ came on the stage, and Pulev [was saying] ‘here he is, are you ready?’,’ Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, told iFL TV.
‘Before he even got on the scales AJ started staring him out, he got on the scales and he kept talking, so AJ said, ‘come here and say it’.
‘And he came up and [Pulev] said, ‘tomorrow night you be ready because I’m going to beat you, I’m better than you and I’ll destroy you’.
‘It was a lot of obsenities, AJ said, ‘who have you beat, telling you’re better than me, you’ll see tomorrow night, I’m going to humble you’.
‘And Pulev just kept saying, ‘listen, tomorrow night, I’m going to end you’.
‘Then it started to get a bit hairy, and to be fair to Pulev he said, ‘listen, I respect you’ and that was enough to [calm things down] but then he went again, ‘but tomorrow night, I’m better than you and I will beat you’.
‘It was cold, sometimes you take a fighter out of that situation and you know they’ve lost the plot, but this was cold.
‘But by the way, so was Pulev, he wasn’t bothered. They were that close to going off at one stage.
AJ starts grabbing his shoulder and he [Pulev] says, ‘get off my f*****g shoulder, don’t touch me’.
Speaking about the incident, Joshua said: ‘I would have clapped him on his jaw, just then. But I have to wait til tomorrow.
‘I know what he is like. I’ve studied him. He thinks he’s a warrior. ‘I said to him: ‘Don’t let the guys that you’ve fought gas you up, you’re against a real one now’.
‘When people come in the ring with me, they are confident. After a few rounds their soul is destroyed. Once I see that, I can take him out.
‘We are big boys. We punch heavy. First man to land will be the last man standing.’
When asked for his view on the exchange, Pulev said: ‘I told him that I’m a better boxer than him and I will destroy him tomorrow.
‘Tomorrow is my day. I tell him all these things I tell him I respect him world champion, Olympic champion. I respect him but times change.
‘I told him also I don’t hate him this is just sport but I’m a better boxer than him now.
‘That’s right [Joshua called me a p***y] it’s not good this language I don’t like it. But we will see tomorrow who is this.’