a standout amateur career in which he medaled in all the major tournaments, save for the Olympic Games,
Kubrat “The Cobra” Pulev made the leap to the pro game in late September 2009.
Since then, the 30-year-old from Sofia, Bulgaria (who stands an impressive
6’4½” and weighs in around 250 pounds) has moved quickly, beating several solid
guys including Matt Skelton (KO 4), Dominick Guinn (UD 8) and most recently, Travis Walker (UD 12)
to take his record to 14-0 (6). Pulev makes his 2012 debut on 14 January and
just broke into the rankings of two of the four major organisations (#13 in both
the IBF and the WBO) as well as The Ring magazine’s heavyweight rankings (#10).
Anson Wainwright - Your last fight was a
points win over Travis Walker. What can you tell us about this victory and how
happy were you with your performance?
Kubrat Pulev - The win is big success
for me. It was hard fight with a lot of blood. In fact, I am not satisfied very
much of my performance. Walker was a tough opponent. Maybe I needed to push a
little bit more to KO him. Was close to do it several times but failed. The
most important thing is that it was my first 12 rounds match and I won my first
title. The fans were satisfied because of the attractive fight and a lot of
action on it.
AW - Do you know when you'll be back in
action next and who your opponent might be?
KP - Yes, I will fight on 14 January in
Germany on a fight card featuring Arthur Abraham, Robert Stieglitz and Henry Weber.
Still my opponent is TBA but probably I will make my first title defence. [Editor’s Note: As of press time, Pulev is
tentatively defending his IBF International heavyweight title against Taras
AW - You debuted in September 2009
straight after the World Championships. Since then, you considerably stepped up
the competition. How come you moved so fast in such a short space of time?
KP - I’ve got enough experience from the
amateurs. That’s why I didn’t need warm-up or preparation matches as most of
the others professional fighters. When I started, my self-confidence and belief
in my skills was high enough to accept fights with boxers with bigger
experience among professionals. The other reason to develop my career so
quickly is that I am not 21 but 30. So I don’t have so much time to lose. I
understand that I need to fight as often as I can against strong opponents to
move quickly to the top.
AW - What is the plan for 2012? Maybe a
European title fight, move through the rankings, etc.?
KP - Sure, main idea is to go up at the
ranks of the major boxing organisations. This will give me better chances to
face more serious contenders. I need to keep busy during the year, to make
several defences of the IBF international title and why not to add another one?
If I received a chance to fight for European belt – I will fight with great
AW - You have a vast amateur pedigree
which obviously helps you considerably. What can you tell us about your amateur
career, what titles you won and your final record?
KP - I don’t have exact numbers of
amateur bouts but probably around 250. Most of them were on the highest
possible level. I won medals from every major championship except Olympic
Games, where I got a chance to fight in 2008 in Beijing but failed to win something.
My bigger successes are gold from Euro 2008 in Liverpool, bronze from World Championships
in 2005, bronze from Euro 2006. I won a lot of international tournaments as
European Union championships and almost every international tournament in
Europe. During my amateur career, I fought and scored wins against likes of
Odlanier Solis, Islam Timurziev, Roberto Cammarelle.
AW - Can you tell us why you made the
decision to turn pro? Since then, who is part of Team Pulev and where do you
KP - I decided to become pro because in
amateur boxing, there are a lot of hidden games. It’s not worth it. You train
all the year and you go to the worlds or European championships and the judges
cut your head. It’s mean and rude. In the amateurs, you can’t win money that
may secure a calm life after the sports career is over. I think every amateur
must turn pro in some time. It’s a logic step when they develop themselves and
had a chance to get a reward for so much hard training days and bloody competitions.
I signed with Sauerland Events, who are my managers and promoters. In Germany,
I train with Otto Ramin and, in Bulgaria, Mikhail Takov helps me a lot, who right
now was elected for the head coach of amateur national team of Bulgaria.
AW - Bulgaria isn't known for boxing. In
fact, no fighter from Bulgaria has ever been a world champion. Can you
tell us how you got into boxing?
KP - We are known as one of the best
amateur boxing schools among the world. Just check who is the last man who beat
Floyd Mayweather. Looking at professional boxing, we really don’t have
promoters who may develop our talents. It’s very rare case to be held a
professional boxing gala in our country, which is very small and not so far reaching
as other European Union members. How did I get in boxing? My father, Venko
Pulev, was a former heavyweight champion in Bulgaria. He brought me and my
brother, Tervel, in the boxing hall, show to us some punches and this is how we
AW - You just mentioned your brother, Tervel, a top amateur. Can you tell us
about the relationship you both share and how he’s doing in the amateurs? Do
you think he'll follow you into the pros? Also, what’s your opinion on Detelin
Drakaliev, who's also a top amateur at 54 kilograms?
KP - We’ve got a great relationship with
him. I love my brother. When I am in Bulgaria, we sparred sometimes but the
problem is that when we are in the same ring, we always start a war and the
effect of those trainings are always close to zero and we risk injuries. I can’t
speak on the name of Tervel because he has his mind if he would turn
professional but the facts are that my promoters, Sauerland Events, spoke with
him and follow his career. It depends on Tervel if he will switch among
professionals. Right now, he is doing very well among amateurs. He won twice
silver medals in last two European championships and he will fight for a place
in the Olympic Games. Detelin probably may have big success in professionals if
he signs a contract with good manager and had a good coach behind him. He
proved himself among amateurs with his world title so why not grab a world title
among professionals as well?
AW - What do you think of the current
state of the heavyweight division? Have you been able to spar or train with any
of the top heavyweights? If so, who and how did it go?
KP - I spar with all the heavyweight
fighters from Sauerland Events like [Nicolay] Valuev, [Robert] Helenius, etc.
It’s competitive sparrings but it’s done during the trainings, very different
in the official match. The heavyweight division needs some attraction.
AW - What do you like to do with your
spare time away from boxing?
KP - Hanging out with my friends and my
girlfriend, [Bulgarian pop singer] Andrea Teodora. I do not smoke or drink
alcohol. Just make some fun and jokes when we are out somewhere.
AW - How popular are you in your
homeland of Bulgaria?
KP - I am popular enough for a small
country but it’s never been my ambition to be a popular person. I am happy that
the sporting channel Nova Sports shows live my fights from Germany and
allows to everyone in Bulgaria to follow my career.
Finally, do you have a message for the boxing fans around the world?
KP - Guys, if you watch my fights you
will see that more and more blood I see, no matter if it’s mine or my opponents’,
the more angry I become. So please, give me some blood fights and you will be
satisfied for the money you spend for the ticket.