Can Kubrat Pulev shake up the world at Wembley Arena?

When the biggest boxing upsets occur – it’s invariably in the heavyweight division.

An 7/1 upstart called Cassius Clay shook up the world half-a-century ago when he stunned Sonny Liston.

A decade later Clay had changed his name and the world had changed their mind about the self-styled Greatest. But Muhammad Ali was still a 4/1 underdog when he floored George Foreman.

Hasim Rahman was 20/1 when he unleashed a right hand that inflicted only the second defeat of Lennox Lewis’s career.

And when the biggest outsider of the lot, James ‘Buster’ Douglas, shocked Iron Mike Tyson in 1990 only one Las Vegas bookie was brave – or stupid enough – to set odds. He quoted 42/1 for a Douglas win.

No-one is going quite as big for an upset victory at Wembley Arena this weekend – but 39-year-old Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev is still a big 7/1 with to triumph, while WBA, IBF and WBO champion Anthony Joshua is a 1/9 favourite .

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The appeal of heavyweight boxing is that one man only has to connect for even the most accomplished fighter to be laid out. Witness Joshua himself against Andy Ruiz junior, on a night when the Mexican was a 25/1 underdog!

The problem for Pulev is that he is significantly older than Ruiz, he is way past his prime – and that upset was only last June.

Surely Joshua will not be so complacent as to allow lightning to strike twice?

If Pulev is going to succeed it will surely be by a shock KO – and the vulgar Bulgar can punch. Sometimes.

Half of his 28 career victories have come by way of KO – but only one in his last six outings.

He is 17/2 to win by stoppage – and 66/1 to win in the first round .

But that is unlikely.

Pulev is 39 and while the last thing to leave a fighter is his punch, Joshua has enough ringcraft to allow the Bulgarian’s early fire to dwindle before bringing his own artillery into play.

A first round Joshua stoppage is 16/1 , but more likely is a stoppage in rounds 4-6 which is 12/5 .

Tale of the betting tape (odds courtesy of

Fighters to win by stoppage

Joshua 3/10

Pulev 17/2

To win on points

Joshua 15/4

Pulev 18/1

To win in rounds 1-3

Joshua 15/4

Pulev 33/1

To win in rounds 4-6

Joshua 13/5

Pulev 22/1

Fight to go the distance

Yes 3/1

No 2/9

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