Anthony Joshua is trading at just 1/8 to beat IBF mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev when he defends his world heavyweight titles at the SSE Arena Wembley on Saturday evening. Many bettors will be turning to the round betting to back the champion at a working man’s price.
As Pulev’s 13/2 underdog status suggests, he is far from the most dangerous opponent Joshua has faced in his career and AJ can take him out in the later stages of the 12-round contest in London.
The two-time world champion has been out of the ring since regaining his four titles with a unanimous points decision win over Mexican Andy Ruiz Jr in Saudi Arabia last December. Those belts – the IBF, WBO, WBA and IBO titles – will now be on the line against Pulev.
Joshua’s defeat by Ruiz last year at Madison Square Garden was his only loss in a 24-fight professional career that has featured 21 wins by knockout. Pulev, 39, has also tasted defeat just once in his professional career that has spanned over 11 years.
Pulev has fought 29 times and his only loss came to Wladimir Klitschko back in 2014. He suffered a fifth-round knockout in his sole previous world title shot. The Bulgarian has worked his way up the IBF rankings with eight wins since losing to Klitschko and is an opponent Joshua must face or vacate the belt.
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Joshua v Pulev round-by-round betting odds
Anthony Joshua was clipped on the side of the head by Ruiz Jr when steaming in for the finish in the first fight between the pair at Madison Square Garden in June 2019. The Brit was stunned and took a flurry of punches from his unfancied opponent before eventually surrendering in round seven.
That contest was one of only three fights in AJ’s professional career in which he has not earned the win via a stoppage. He is clinical and one of the best finishers in boxing with his brutal power.
The Ruiz defeat aside, what has made Joshua so popular and exciting to watch is his ability to step in and end the contest once he smells blood. A remarkable 16 of his 21 victories by KO or TKO have come in the first six rounds, but that is not a tally expected to grow here.
William Hill makes a Joshua win in round six most likely if the fight is to be stopped within the 12-round distance and is available to back at 8/1, a price closely followed by rounds five and seven, with both priced up at 17/2.
Prices for each round get bigger the later the fight goes with round nine available at 10/1 and the 12th and final round chalked up at 22/1.
There are some enormous prices on offer about Pulev becoming the second man to stop Joshua, with the first four rounds available to back individually at 100/1.
Joshua v Pulev round-betting tips
Odds are correct at the time of publication and are subject to change.
Both fighters have been absent from the ring for over a year and a tentative start is expected. Pulev will be wary of Joshua’s power, while the more measured Joshua we saw in the rematch with Ruiz is the most likely version of the champion we’ll see early on.
The way Joshua unravelled when caught by Ruiz could mean we see a more conservative approach from him and the wager that appeals most for this fight is a late stoppage.
Just how much veteran Pulev will have left in the tank come the latter stages remains to be seen, but the prices on offer about rounds 10 and 11 at 12/1 and 16/1 respectively are the most attractive.
Joshua can out-work the Bulgarian and gradually break him down before stepping on the gas and ending it late.
Tip: Anthony Joshua in round 10 @ 12/1 with William Hill