Kubrat Pulev outpoints Jerry Forrest in 10 rounds after glove controversy

Kubrat Pulev and Jerry Forrest may go down in boxing history, but not for any good reason.

Pulev, the heavyweight contender from Bulgaria, dominated Jerry Forrest of Louisiana to win a unanimous decision on the Sergey Kovalev-Tervel Pulev Triller Fight Club undercard at the Kia Forum in Inglewood, California.

The judges handed out scorecards of 98-92, 99-91 and 99-91, all to the 41-year-old Pulev, who landed his right hand at will against the often clumsy but tough 34-year-old Forrest.

The 10-round heavyweight bout was one-sided and largely pedestrian. But he was overshadowed by a strange and frustrating debacle that happened behind the scenes.

There was a significant hours delay in the fight due to a ruckus that occurred in the locker room. Forrest’s chosen gloves did not fit his hands, prompting a search for another pair that required Pulev’s approval. A California State Athletic Commission representative said Forrest was asked to remove the bandages from his hands to see if the gloves fit him, but when he did, Forrest still couldn’t get his hands inside the gloves.

After much deliberation, much to the annoyance of viewers, the decision was made to allow Forrest to wear Grant’s own Pulev backup gloves, a brand popular with professional boxers.

“We’re lending our gloves to Jerry Forrest,” Pulev promoter Ivaylo Gotzev said during the Triller broadcast. “He is going to fight at Grants. Introducing Jerry Forrest to the biggest gloves ever made.”

When the fight finally started, both fighters entered the ring to a chorus of boos.

In the tenth round, Forrest came out on the front foot. Submitted Pulev found it more difficult to land his right hand. Forrest appeared to stagger Pulev with a sweeping left. But Pulev came back to get a right of his own.

Forrest showed some determination in the ninth round, landing a straight left on Pulev. Midway through the round, Pulev began to bleed from his left eye. Otherwise, both fighters were sloppy and eager to hang on.

A ringside doctor examined Forrest before the eighth round, but decided that Forrest was still fit to continue fighting. Pulev went to batting practice on Forrest in the eighth round, and Forrest did nothing but lean against the ropes. Forrest managed to briefly stagger Pulev with a right hook just before the end of the round.

In the seventh, Pulev continued to punish Forrest with right hands. Forrest seemed to sleepwalk at times. With just over a minute to go, Pulev hit Forrest with a booming overhand right, but Forrest somehow absorbed it. Pulev then followed up with several unanswered right hands. Pulev landed another emphatic right hand to end the round.

Forrest entered the sixth round in better shape than he had in the previous two rounds, but he was still easy prey for Pulev’s right hands.

In the fifth, Pulev repeatedly found a home for his right hand. A weary Forrest looked increasingly bewildered. Pulev punctuated the round with another right uppercut.

Pulev took over in the fourth round. He landed a pair of stiff right hands in the first minute of the fourth round. He then surprised Forrest with a straight right hand. A noticeably tired Forrest ate another right hand. With a minute to go, Pulev unloaded a flurry of punches as Forrest was on the ropes. Pulev landed a trio of right hands to end the round. Forrest staggered back to his corner, his mouth hanging open.

In the third round, Forrest countered with a well-timed left right that seemed to bend Pulev’s knees. However, the Bulgarian was not injured and continued to pressure Forrest. Pulev landed a right hand that sent Forrest back against the ropes. Pulev followed up with a right uppercut, leading to a brief exchange at the end of the round.

The second round started similarly to the first. However, with a minute to go, Pulev landed a hard right hand that caught Forrest’s attention and forced him to stop.

In the first round, Forrest and Pulev began exchanging jabs, with Pulev pressing the action. Forrest landed a hard left straight to the body midway through the round.

This was Pulev’s first fight since his ninth-round knockout loss to then-unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua in 2020 at Wembley Arena in London, England.

Forrest was coming off a disputed split draw against heavyweight contender and Olympian Michael Hunter last December in a fight many observers believed Forrest should have won.

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