Kubrat Pulev in line for another title shot
By Marc Livitz
Kubrat Pulev made sure his debut on American shores was one to remember. He withstood an early assault from Bogdan Dinu and a deep cut over his left eye before he was able to gather his guts and determination en route to a seventh round TKO victory on Saturday night at The Hangar in Costa Mesa, California. Each heavyweight was but a step away from a crossroads style of fight. While Pulev hadn’t suffered a defeat in nearly five years, Dinu was making his first appearance in the ring since he suffered a devastating fourth round knockout to Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller four months ago.
Keeping in mind that the combined height of the two competitors closed in on thirteen feet, it was clearly understandable as to why most of the first round consisted of jabbing, mostly from Pulev. Dinu (18-2, 14 KO’s) looked to counter, mostly with body shots when he wasn’t on the back foot looking to evade Kubrat’s left jab. Pulev (27-1, 14 KO’s) answered early in the second with a one-two shot combination to the head of Bogdan shortly after the Romanian missed with a left hook.
Dinu had his moments later in the round with his overhand right, yet spurts of the period consisted of holds and clinches. A pattern was beginning to emerge once the third was underway. Pulev’s jabbing would cease, after which Dinu would push forward with shots towards the hip and ribs, then fire away up high. Bogdan connected with a right uppercut in the closing seconds.
Dinu came alive from the very moment the fourth commenced. The Romanian who serves as a policeman back in his native homeland swung away at Pulev and opened a large gash over the Bulgarian’s left eye in the process, thanks to a crushing right. He forced him into a corner and threw perhaps fifteen consecutive body punches. Feeling the pressure, Pulev spoke loudly with his efforts as a few of his hard rights found the target.
As blood streamed down the side of his face, Pulev looked to get back into the fight with his jab and follow up right in the fifth. His corner seemed to have done a sufficient job at sealing up the cut so that he could get down to business in round six. Although Dinu would reply with overhand counters, it was the Bulgarian who was finding more success with his jab and right hand.
With sixty percent of the bout in the contest, Pulev came out on the offensive to begin round seven. His efforts forced his Romanian opponent into a corner. Left after left and right after right until Bogdan hit the canvas, yet it was quickly determined that an illegal shot to the back of the head had assisted in the knockdown after Dinu had hit the mat. One point was deducted from Kubrat Pulev for the violation.
The clock was paused after forty seven seconds and until Dinu felt good enough to continue. Shortly after its continuation and thankfully without the shot behind the head, Pulev once again dropped Dinu with a hard right. Bogdan would beat the count of referee Benny Esteves, Jr.
Just moments later, the jab of “Cobra” Pulev made way for his trademark right hand and Bogdan would be dropped for the third and final time. The Romanian slumped to the canvas and was clearly beaten and unable to continue, much less stand for the moment.
Esteves waved the contest to a halt at the 2:40 mark of round seven to award the TKO win to Kubrat Pulev. At the time of the stoppage, Pulev was ahead, 58-56 on one card, while the remaining two had the bout knotted at 57-57 apiece.
Photo by German Villasenor