Anthony Joshua retained his world heavyweight titles with a ninth-round knockout of Kubrat Pulev on Saturday, potentially setting up an all-British fight against Tyson Fury to be undisputed champion of boxing’s marquee division.
Joshua had already knocked down Pulev three times when he unleashed a right hook that sent the 39-year-old Bulgarian to the canvas once again.
This time, Pulev couldn’t get up.
After months of boxing fights in empty British venues, up to 1,000 spectators — a limited number that included boxing royalty in Floyd Mayweather — were inside Wembley Arena to see Joshua make his first defence of the WBA, IBF, WBO titles since regaining them in a rematch against Andy Ruiz Jr.
Now he has done away with the durable but one-dimensional mandatory challenge of Pulev, Joshua can turn to his ultimate goal of being undisputed champion — the first in the heavyweight division since Lennox Lewis in 1999.
He has an agreement in principle with Tyson Fury, the WBC champion, for a two-fight deal in 2021 to unify all four titles in an all-British blockbuster. It would be one of the biggest fights in living memory, certainly the biggest in British boxing history.