ANTHONY JOSHUA is beefing back up to his brutal best in his bid to bang out Kubrat Pulev.
Watford’s WBA, IBF and WBO king showed off a Hulk-like physique on holiday in Marbella this week, the destination most holidaymakers ditch carbs for.
But the champ has clearly been gulping down plenty of fuel as he eyes a short winter war with his Bulgarian mandatory challenger.
AJ won his first world title in 2015 at 17st 6lbs, thrilled the planet with the 2017 Wladimir Klitschko win up at 17st 12lbs and out-muscled Carlos Takam at a giant 18st 2lbs six months later.
But the disastrous June 2019 loss to Andy Ruiz Jr – when Josh was a ripped 17st 9lbs Adonis – sparked a shake-up of his style, corner and size.
Joshua dropped almost a stone to outbox the bulbous Mexican over 12 one-sided rounds in December at a new slimline 16st 13lbs – his lightest in five years – looking unrecognisable in some pre-fight pics.
But the latest snaps from his Spanish vacation, where he bumped into rival Brit champ Tyson Fury by chance, show a return to the mammoth KO artist that scored most of his finest stoppage wins teetering close to 18st.
A recent knee injury, that required a brace, will have limited the amount of fitness and cardio work Joshua could have done over the summer.
But it definitely looks like the dedicated ace has done a lot more then just pack on a few accidental holiday pounds.
And a couple of AJ’s biggest fans have backed his return to the bulk.
Former cruiser and heavyweight king David Haye moved up from the 14st 4lbs division to beat 22st monster Nikolai Valuev.
And he supports AJ’s plan to dine out on his power when he finally gets to face Pulev.
The Hayemaker also feels Fury’s incredible demolition of Deontay Wilder has given fight fans an appetite for destruction that AJ cannot afford to starve.
Haye told SunSport: “I don’t think AJ needs to box against Pulev like he did in the Ruiz Jr rematch, he can box how he usually boxes, dynamic and explosive.
“He can go out there and use his physicality, his punch power, his angles.
“He can outbox him if he wants to but I don’t think the world wants that.
“The world wants to see the world heavyweight champion do what Fury did to Wilder.
“If Fury can do that to Wilder, Joshua should do something similar to Pulev.”
Derek Chisora, a close friend and sparring partner to AJ, was 17st 11lbs when he went to Germany to fight Pulev in 2016.
Like fellow Brit Hughie Fury two years later, Del Boy lost on points against the crafty veteran, who appears to do his best work around the 17st mark.
And he also reckons his fellow Finchley ABC graduate needs to flex his pecs and biceps on route to a headline grabbing KO win
Chisora told SunSport: “Pulev is resilient and has a hard-to-beat European style.
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“He will try to make things difficult for AJ, he will want to hold and take away AJ’s skills.
“The performance in the Ruiz rematch was what he had to do, it was technical and skilled.
“But against Pulev I want to see that explosive powerful guy come back and get the sensational win.”