Eddie Hearn, promoter for IBF, IBO, WBA, WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, believes his boxer's most recent defense should have been stopped much sooner than it was.
This past Saturday night at SSE Arena in Wembley, Joshua retained his titles with a ninth round stoppage of mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev.
They had initially been scheduled to fight each other in 2017, with Pulev withdrawing from the contest with a shoulder injury.
The bout was then set down again this past June. The date was pushed back due to the coronavirus pandemic.
When they finally met in the ring, the two boxers were feeling each other out in the first two rounds.
In the third, Joshua badly hurt Pulev and had him all over the place. Pulev was so out of it that he went to a corner and turned his back on Joshua. For a moment it appeared that the referee was going to wave off the fight, but he instead began to issue a count. Pulev was allowed to continue and was then dropped for a second time before the round came to a end.
Fast-forward to the ninth, Joshua scored two more knockdowns to close the show. The final knockdown saw Pulev stay down for the full count.
Hearn felt the referee should have stopped the fight when Pulev went to a corner and completely turned his back on Joshua.
“Pulev turned his back and it was over and the ref for some reason gave him a standing eight count,” Hearn told the Matchroom YouTube channel.
“The ropes weren’t holding him up and I thought he threw way to many rabbit punches, but it what it is and we got the win. It was a composed and brutal performance and exactly what he needed going into 2021. He hasn’t boxed in a year and he got eight rounds in.”