28-Year-Old Kubrat Pulev: The Best Heavyweight Prospect In The World Today?

by James Slater - 28-year-old Bulgarian heavyweight Kubrat Pulev is being moved at a quite incredible pace as he works his way up the ladder at pro level. The former amateur standout (2008 super-heavyweight gold medallist in the 2008 European amateur championships being just one of the German-based fighter's honours) made his pro debut just last September, yet he is already being put in the ring with seasoned men who have far more experienced than he does. And Pulev is making relatively easy work of these fighters.

Back in January, the approx 6'4" and 240-pound "Cobra" stopped former British champion and WBA title challenger Matt Skelton inside four-rounds.. Earning much praise for the way he handled the tough "Bedford Bear," Pulev, after another win, then met the normally durable Danny Batchelder in March. What happened? Pulev became the fastest man to stop the American; taking him out with a 2nd-round TKO. And while neither Skelton, Batchelder or Zack Page (a December 2009 points loser to Purev) are world beaters, they are good fighters who would be expected to give an up-and-comer like the 28-year-old a hard night's work. Instead, Purev has yet to be tested.

A well conditioned fighter who moves well, has good hand speed, a nice left jab and a dangerous-looking right hand, Kubrev could very well be the best young and unbeaten heavyweight prospect out there today. Showing the confidence they have in their man, Team-Pulev will put the now 7-0(5) hope in there with the world class, once-beaten, never-stopped Ukrainian fighter, Oleg Platov next. This is a big step up for the man who has fought regularly, once a month, since turning pro.

Pulev will face the 26-year-old with the 28-1(22) pro record on the under-card of the May 1st Marco Huck-Brian Minto show in Germany (Germany being the scene of all but one of Pulev's pro bouts, Belgium hosting the other one). Not for a very long time in the division's history has such a novice at pro level been put in with such a highly respected and proven fighter. Never stopped as a pro (Platov's sole loss coming on points in a six-rounder way back in 2002), Platov has a good win to his name over the capable Henry Akinwande (W12), and he has also been in with Danny Williams ( a 4th-round No Decision).

Ranked quite highly in the world (BoxRec have him at #23), it could even be argued that Platov is as good as, if not slightly better than, the man WBC heavyweight ruler Vitali Klitschko will next face, in Albert Sosnowski. And after just seven paid bouts Purev feels he is ready for this calibre of fighter!

Very much fighting at an old-school pace (the early days of Mike Tyson spring to mind, what with "Kid Dynamite's" fight-every-month game-plan), Purev is without a doubt a young heavyweight to keep an eye on. The one thing that may cause some fans to raise their eyebrows, however, is Purev's age. I refer to him as a young fighter - and in terms of freshness and lack of ring wear and tear he is - but at 28, Purev hasn't all that much time on his side; even if the modern day heavyweight matures later than he used to a decade or two ago. This is most likely why Purev's team are putting him in with the likes of Platov.

Still, there is genuine excitement about "The Cobra," and if he can win on May 1st, particularly in style, this excitement will be felt by even more people. Of course, there remain a number of question marks about Purev - his ability to take a good shot and whether or not he has the punching power to be able to defeat an elite fighter - but even at this early stage the hype may well be justified in this fighter's case. Not that there has been all that much hype. Indeed, many U.S fans may not even have heard of Purev.

If he can become the first man to KO Platov in the biggest test of his career thus far, it's likely those fans that have not yet seen Purev in action will seek him out and take a look for themselves, though!

Article posted on 26.03.2010

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