ANTHONY JOSHUA takes on Kubrat Pulev in the first defence of his second reign as world heavyweight champion.

The Bulgarian is Joshua's IBF mandatory title challenger and will try his hand at collecting the WBA, WBO and IBO straps as well.

Joshua hasn't been in the ring since his dominant points win over Andy Ruiz Jr last December.

AJ's clash with Pulev will take place at Wembley Arena in front of 1,000 fans, Matchroom announced earlier this week.

But how do the heavyweight pair stack up against each other?

Age

One of the most talked about factors heading into Joshua's clash with Pulev is the challenger's age.

At 39, Pulev has been around the block and fought anyone who has come his way, including Joshua's pal Derek Chisora in 2016.

AJ is 31 years old and right in the middle of his physical prime, coming off the back of a brilliant win Ruiz Jr in Saudi Arabia.

Pulev has been knocked out as a professional, by Wladimir Klitschko in 2014, further adding wear and tear to his ageing body.

But Joshua has also been stopped, though he showed brilliant mental fortitude to come back in the rematch.

Physicality

If Joshua's going to win this fight in as eye-catching a manner as possible, he's going to have to strongman Pulev, which isn't necessarily an easy thing to do.

Pulev is just two inches shorter than Joshua, while AJ also has a three-inch reach advantage.

But Pulev is as strong as an ox and hits incredibly hard, too.

Joshua is much quicker than Pulev, both with his hands and feet, and should look to bamboozle the world title challenger with speed and precision early on.

Once Pulev has been softened up, Joshua can go for a KO in the middle rounds of the fight.

Record

Both fighters have one loss each on their records, with Joshua's coming last year against Andy Ruiz Jr in New York.

The Olympic gold-medallist was knocked down four times in his fight with Ruiz Jr, who eventually stopped Joshua in the seventh round.

Pulev was brutally KO'd by Klitschko in the 5th round of their world title clash seven years ago.

Pulev does have decent wins over Chisora, Hughie Fury and Tony Thompson, however.

Joshua's best victories include Klitschko, Dillian Whyte, Joseph Parker, Alexander Povetkin and Ruiz Jr in their rematch.

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