By Ian S Palmer
Kubrat Pulev vs Samuel Peter Preview December 3rd
The Arena Ameec in Sofia, Bulgaria will be the site of the vacant WBA Inter Continental Heavyweight Championship fight this Saturday, December 3rd between Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev and Samuel Peter of Nigeria. Pulev beat Derek Chisora of Britain for the vacant European Heavyweight title by split decision in his last bout back in May while Peter last fought in October and stopped Juan Carlos Salas after the third round. This is just Peter’s fourth fight since 2011 as the former WBC Heavyweight Champion took a few years off after losing to Robert Helenius by ninth-round stoppage in 2011.
Pulev has won three straight contests since being stopped by Wladimir Klitschko in the fifth in their meeting in November of 2014, which has been his only career loss as a pro. Pulev’s a former Olympian and had a fine amateur career. The 35-year-old Pulev climbs through the ropes with a mark of 23-1 with 12 Kos to his name. He turned pro in 2009 and has fought 159 rounds so far. Pulev isn’t a knockout artist by any means and has a current knockout ratio of 50 per cent, but any heavyweight can end a fight with one punch if it’s perfectly timed and lands on the button, and that’s what gives him a good chance here. He stands just over 6-feet-4-inches tall with an 80-inch reach.
Most North American fans may not know much about him, but he stopped Alexander Dimitrenko in 11 rounds in May of 2012 for the European title and then stopped Alexander Ustinov in the same round four months later. He also beat the ageing Tony Thompson by a unanimous decision in 2013 and stopped Joey Abell the same year. He also has wins over the likes of Michael Sprott, Dominick Guinn, Derric Rossy, Matt Skelton and Zack Page. Pulev has good boxing skills and understands the importance of distance and timing and won’t be pushed around by Peter.
The 36-year-old Peter, who was born in Nigeria, but now fights out of Las Vegas, is smaller at 6-feet-2-inches in height and has a slight reach disadvantage at 77 inches. He turned pro back in 201 and has 190 rounds under his belt since then. He enters Saturday’s fight with a record of 36-5 with 29 Kos. He’s got good power with a knockout ratio of 71 per cent, but his chin is questionable since he’s been stopped three times. These stoppages were to Helenius in 2011, Wladimir Klitschko in 2010 and Vitali Klitschko in 2008. He also lost a majority decision to Eddie Chambers in 2009 and a unanimous decision to Wladimir Klitschko in 2005.
As you can see, Peter has excellent pro experience and has fought some of the toughest heavyweights of his era. His best wins have been against the likes of Jeremy Williams, Taurus Sykes, James Toney (twice), Jameel McCline, Oleg Maskaev and Nagy Aguilera. The inactivity may have hurt Peter, but he definitely has the edge over Pulev when it comes to facing top pro opposition. We know Peter can hit, but we don’t know how well he can take a punch at this point of his career. Pulev isn’t really an elite heavyweight and this fight will also come down to the strength of his chin.
If Peter was in his prime, he’d be the favourite here. But it’s hard to tell what he has left in the tank due to his inactivity. He has the power to stop anybody, but can’t afford to get hit on the button. This bout could end in any outcome and it wouldn’t be a surprise. It’ll likely end in a stoppage though and at this stage I’ll go with Pulev in a tough, close contest.