Kubrat Pulev believes he will become as big a star in Bulgaria as the country’s football hero Hristo Stoichkov if he defeats Anthony Joshua on Saturday night.
Stoichkov is Bulgaria’s greatest ever sporting icon after winning the Golden Boot at the 1994 World Cup, where he led his country to an unexpected semi-final appearance.
He is also considered a Barcelona legend and played alongside current manager Ronald Koeman. Stoichkov won 13 trophies during two spells at the Nou Camp, including five LaLiga titles and the Champions League.
Pulev, who is good friends with the former footballer, believes he will be considered as much of a hero if he can cause an upset against Joshua and become his country’s first ever heavyweight world champion.
‘He is my friend, Stoichkov, he is a good man and a very good guy. I know most of the famous people in Bulgaria,’ Pulev said.
‘He is a good friend because we have one restaurant and he lives near it and every time when he is in Bulgaria, he calls me and we sit and eat together, joke together.
‘Will I be as big a star as him if I win? Yes. In my country, for sure.’