Boxing

Sensible Anthony Joshua can enjoy a short night against Kubrat Pulev

There is little danger of Anthony Joshua coughing up his world titles to Kubrat Pulev, as long as he goes about his work sensibly.

If he sticks to his punishing jab, walks him on to shots, throws the double jab, right hand, it will be a short night.

Pulev is 39. Joshua is fighting a guy dented by Klitschko, dismantled by a left jab. He just needs to employ the right tactics.

There has been a lot of talk about Joshua’s new outlook and fresh psychological approach, brought about by the addition assistant coaches Joby Clayton and Angel Hernandez.

He certainly produced a disciplined display in the rematch with Andy Ruiz. But my experience tells me that it has very little to do with psychological improvements.

It’s not psychology per se, but using your boxing intelligence, knowing when to come forward and when to back up.

Joshua was gung-ho in the first Ruiz fight and got caught. Simple as that. Though he was dropped heavily Ruiz did not look hurt.

Joshua made the wrong decision with disastrous consequences. He should have waited for his opportunity instead of going in for the big finish.

Getting put on the canvas dented Joshua’s confidence and he wasn’t able to recover. Ruiz saw vulnerability and went for it.

In the rematch Ruiz admitted he had not trained as hard as he should have. He looked laboured. He was not in condition and did not have the same hunger.

Joshua applied the right tactics, got up on his toes and showed us he could box. It was a brilliantly disciplined effort.

But what we saw in Saudi Arabia was not revolutionary. It’s about evolution. The second fight was conditioned by what happened in the first.

Joshua learned his lesson, just as Lennox Lewis changed after being whacked by Oliver McCall.

Lewis was more circumspect after that. Joshua has to learn that being ruthless is not taking someone’s head off.

Ultimately boxing is about hitting and not being hit. Joshua has all the physical advantages. He’s in the prime of his athletic life.

He just needs to land those pulverising shots judiciously, break him up intelligently not recklessly.

If the fight plays out as I expect, it will reassure him that he is on the right path, doing the right things.

And doing things the right way pretty much always works, at least until you meet a better opponent.

Believe me, Kubrat Pulev is not that man.

Follow Barry on Twitter at @ClonesCyclone, @McGuigans_Gym and @CyclonePromo

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