Bad blood at the weigh-in culminated to an intense cauldron of noise inside the Barclaycard Arena in Hamburg.
32-year old Chisora, who had mixed with current/former world heavyweight champions in Tyson Fury and David Haye, bristled with ambition and willingness to engage early. Whilst he couldn't land any significant shots on Pulev, he attempted to unsettle the Bulgarian with a rough, smothering style on the inside. To Pulev's defence, the jab kept Chisora at range and whenever the Londoner threw his shots from mid-range, Pulev swerved to the side and grabbed hold.
The 35-year old Pulev - possessing fantastic amateur pedigree - secured the first two rounds. Chisora struggled to land clean punches with his bustling style inside the pocket, while Pulev's jab followed by straight right combination scored him the majority of points.
In the third stanza, Pulev nailed Chisora with the long right uppercut - further improving his punch variety. Despite this, Chisora had perhaps nicked the third based on workrate. The Briton scored several points courtesy of an array of combinations to the body. Pulev, much like he did against Wladimir Klitschko, immediately grabbed hold when under fire. Therefore, that cut Chisora's brief momentum but still lost the round.
Chisora arrived in tip-top condition, however his punch output remained a concern. Backed up, hands high, Pulev still managed to pepper him with the jab and score significant punches throughout rounds. Chisora, though, to his credit, also landed the occasional looping right from range - and one in the sixth which was undoubtedly the best shot of the entire fight. Pulev covered up, then once again established the successful jab and diminished Chisora's output.
Pulev suffered a small cut above the left eye, which Chisora had caused from combinations upstairs. Despite this, he became increasingly frustrated by the seventh. He found difficulty in stepping into range quick enough to land the punches to disrupt Pulev's momentum behind the jab.
Chisora often allowed himself to be forced back onto the ropes, and sustained a substantial amount of punishment. For at least 15 seconds, Pulev easily teed off with scorching jabs, followed up by pummelling right hooks around the guard. Chisora stumbled back to his corner in a sorry state.
Whenever Chisora plunged into range, he stabbed each hand at Pulev's midsection in desperate attempts to score clean punches. Pulev glanced at the referee each time he did, and even stuck his tongue out in an act of showboating.
Pulev's jab continued to find its way through Chisora's tight guard, and by the tenth-twelfth stanzas, both eyes were severely bust up from solid accumulations of shots. Spirited as ever, Chisora bustled forward but was unable to find the perfect range to land big shots that could potentially score an unlikely knockdown.
Pulev finished the fight strongly, and although he secured the win, it was in bizarre judging circumstances.
A surprising split-decision occurred. Two judges scored the fight in favour of Kubrat Pulev 118-110, 116-112, and for Chisora 115-113.