Bulgarian boxer Koubrat Pulev, who will fight Ukrainian heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko for the IBF title in September, has once again voiced doubts about his opponent’s training regimen, although he stopped short of outright accusing Klitschko of using banned substances.
“About doping, the very fact that he refuses to play by the rules means that he’s hiding something. Maybe he’s afraid. That’s his choice, but this makes him a fake champion,” Pulev said, as quoted by Bulgarian sports daily Tema Sport.
“Nothing prevents him from submitting a sample to show that we have an equal starts. From what I see and what he is doing, it is clear that he is afraid to play by the rules. I do not know if he’s taking anabolic [steroids] or something else; whatever it is, I’ll manage,” Pulev is reported to have said.
This is the second time since the date of the Pulev-Klitschko fight was announced last month that the 33-year-old Bulgarian boxer has hit out at his 38-year-old opponent for refusing to accept being tested for banned substances during training.
“I must always be available and notify where I am staying and where I can be found at any moment. Why is this not true for Wladimir Klitschko? That would be only fair,” Pulev told German news agency DPA on June 25.
Pulev says he has already been tested once since the announcement was made. “I am not hiding, unlike him, and I have been tested once already. There is no problem – I’m on apples, oranges and pears. I am keeping my regimen and preparing according to rules. My conscience is clear, but I am not so sure about his,” he told Tema Sport.
A former European heavyweight champion, Pulev has a 20-0 record since turning professional, with 11 of those wins coming by knockout. He achieved mandatory challenger status from the International Boxing Federation (IBF) in August 2013, after defeating American boxer Tony Thompson.
Pulev, nicknamed “the Cobra”, has made no secret of his desire to fight Klitschko and has repeatedly suggested, over the past year, that the Ukrainian was “afraid” to fight him.
After Klitschko defended his WBO world title against Australian challenger Alex Leapai in April, the IBF said that he would be stripped of his title if he did not fight Pulev next.
Last month, Klitschko’s K2 Promotions won the purse bid to gain promotional control of the fight, outbidding Sauerland Event, Pulev’s promoter. The title bout has been scheduled for September 6 at the O2 World arena in Hamburg, Germany.
(Wladimir Klitschko poses for selfies at an event in Berlin in November 2013. Photo: Hubert Burda Media/flickr.com)