Anthony Joshua sets up Tyson Fury showdown after smashing Kubrat Pulev in nine rounds with brutal win at Wembley Arena

ANTHONY JOSHUA edged one step closer to an undisputed clash against Tyson Fury with a brutal ninth-round KO of Kubrat Pulev.

It was one-way traffic from the off as Joshua displayed his awesome power against teak-tough Pulev.

Pulev was sent crashing to the canvas for the third time in the ninth round. He couldn't get to his feet before the count and it was all over at 2mins 58secs.

The Bulgarian was floored twice in that round and once in the third, in which he was also given another standing count too.

Speaking after his KO triumph in front of 1,000 fans, Joshua, 31, said: "Boxing is about less talk and more action, I hope everyone was satisfied tonight.

"I stuck to what I know best, boxing, putting my shots together. It's all about less talk more action.

"I don't even want to really do an interview."

Joshua was asked whether he 'wants the Fury fight', to which he responded: "Of course I want the challenge.

"I want all the belts, if that happens to be Tyson Fury, then let it be."

Promoter Eddie Hearn added: "There has been a lot of talk, it is less talk and more action.

"We are going to be friendly, we are going to be nice. We are going to make the Fury fight straight away.

"He wants it, he is the best heavyweight in the world. It's about legacy, and let's get it done."

Fury uploaded a video to Twitter just minutes after Joshua's arm was raised.

Wearing a Christmas jumper, the 32-year-old Gypsy King said: "There you go everyone, Anthony Joshua just s**t himself on live television.

"He got asked if he wanted the fight, and he went around the bushes and put his arse in the hedge.

"I want the fight, I want the fight next, I will knock him out inside three rounds.

"He's a big bum dosser, can't wait to knock him out."

Pulev was floored twice in the third round as Joshua unloaded some huge bombs watched on by Floyd Mayweather who had flown in for the fight.

At times the 39-year-old smiled his way through the torture, but it was stomach-churning at times as Joshua landed at will.

The gritty Bulgarian managed to make the bell, just, despite at one point turning his back on AJ as he was pummelled.

Credit to the Bulgarian as he refused to cave and even managed to get his jab going – until his night was done in devastating fashion.

Joshua peppered Pulev with uppercuts in the ninth, a huge right flooring the durable challenger.

With seconds left, Pulev managed to get to his feet to beat the count, but was soon sent crashing back down as AJ threw the kitchen sink at him.

The referee gave Pulev a count, but it was clear it was all over.

AJ, who attended a Black Lives Matter march in June and worked on a SunSport campaign to highlight the BAME and immigrant heroes working in the NHS fighting pandemic, did not take a knee before his fight.

The champ confirmed on Thursday that he had made the tough decision not to take the stance but he is pushing for serious social change with grassroots charities.

Instead, the 31-year-old son of Nigerian parents used his entrance to remind the world of his Hollywood appeal.

Head-to-toe in white kit and gloves, The father of one had his initials ablaze just like at the brilliant Wembley Stadium night he beat Wladimir Klitschko in 2017.

Through a black and white video AJ addressed the 1000 fans asking for prayers but it did not look like he would need them when he stripped off to reveal 17st 2lbs of magnificent muscle.

Pulev, the 39-year-old Bulgarian hard man named after a medieval warrior, came to the ring in a red, green and white robe that honoured his national flag.

And the pair locked eyes for a thrilling instant once both inside the ring, moments before attempting to beat each other senseless they shared a final sense of respect.

That respect was shared at the final bell too as Joshua's hand was raised.

The two boxers embraced and both shouted a war cry as the beef was settled in emphatic fashion.

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