Kubrat Pulev scored a lopsided points win over the rated Tony Thompson in Schwerin, Germany tonight to book his title shot at the unified heavyweight ruler Wladimir Klitschko. The fight was an official final eliminator for the IBF belt, and it was thought that the American could put in a good shift as he possessed the better momentum, compared to the Bulgarian who had been inactive for a year. That theory did appear true for the first 3 rounds, however the classy Pulev pulled away for the rest of the fight winning every round in the process and preserving his perfect unbeaten record.
Thompson’s southpaw style and dangerous left held the Sauerland new boy off for the majority of the first few rounds, but the unbeaten contender upped the ante in the 4th stanza and it was pretty much one way traffic for the remainder of a scrappy, forgettable encounter. Thompson shipped a lot of leather in the 8th and 9th when he soaked up a massive right which briefly stunned the Washington DC man who was coming off two highly impressive back-to-back wins over the rated prospect David Price. Pulev is no Price though, and his power, range and composure troubled the visitor.
The Bulgarian went on to dominate the championship rounds and was awarded scores of 116-112, 117-111, wheres the Boxing Observer concurred with British judge Mickey Vann’s card of 118-110. To be honest, the only positive to come out of this bout is that there will be no trilogy fight between Klitschko and Thompson. Pulev did not show enough to convince the large watching European audience he would provide a legitimate challenge to the Ukrainians crown. You have to factor in this was his first fight in 12 months, and I suspect he could do with another outing before the annum is over.
The Bulgarian has a good boxing brain, is patient, can obviously adapt, but appears to rely on a basic jab-straight right which I fear would be too crude if he were to face Klitschko next year as expected. The heavyweight ruler faces Alexander Povetkin October 5th. Of course it is hardly a foregone conclusion that the champion will prevail, however if he does as expected then a big clash with Pulev could occur as early as December with the German-based giant keen to book one more fight this year. The new IBF #1 is now 18(9)-0, whilst an ageing Thompson drops to 38(26)-4 but clearly still has future within the elite scene.