Anthony Joshua knocks out Kubrat Pulev to retain heavyweight titles

Anthony Joshua has retained his heavyweight titles after knocking out Kubrat Pulev in the ninth round.

Bookies' favourite Joshua put his three heavyweight belts on the line against Pulev at the SSE Arena at Wembley.

He has now set the stage for a showdown with Tyson Fury - what is likely to be billed the biggest fight in British boxing history.

The British fighter went nine rounds with the tough Bulgarian before landing a huge right hand to KO his rival.

Joshua quickly left the ring to embrace boxing legend Floyd Mayweather at ringside.

Ahead of the bout, Mayweather had called Joshua a "hell of a fighter and a gentleman".

The Watford-born star, 31, walked out to The White Stripes' Seven Nation Army as the 1,000 fans allowed into the arena belted out his name.

Both men were cagey in the first round, with Joshua the first to throw before Pulev responded with a jab.

Things heated up considerably in the third round and Pulev found himself in deep trouble after being floored by a Joshua uppercut.

The Bulgarian was eventually saved by the bell and managed to recover in the fourth as Joshua eased off the pressure.

However, it was not enough to overcome the British boxer, who landed a series of uppercuts in the ninth before sending Pulev toppling to the floor.

As the Bulgarian rose, he unleashed a straight right hand that caught the groggy fighter flush.

The 39-year old's remarkable resistance to Joshua's power was finally defeated and he failed to beat the count.

Speaking after his win, Joshua told reporters: 

I hope everyone was satisfied tonight. For me, I stuck to what I know best, boxing. You ask the crowd what they want to see!

It was Joshua's first fight in the UK for two years and sets the stage for him to face fellow Briton Tyson Fury next year.

The two men hold all the heavyweight titles after Fury claimed the WBC belt with a stoppage over Deontay Wilder in Las Vegas in February.

The pair are believed to have agreed financial terms but the deal still needs to be finalised.

Earlier on the undercard on Saturday night, Tyson's Fury cousin, Hughie Fury, also a heavyweight, won his fight by unanimous decision.

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