January 24, 2018
January 24, 2018
Joshua Buatsi

Action Images/Andrew Couldridge

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JOSHUA BUATSI’S knockout ratio has taken a hit. He had two stoppage wins going into his third fight, in October at the Principality stadium in Cardiff. Now at 67 percent, Buatsi smiled, “It’s taken a blow!”

However at the end of his six rounder with Saidou Sall, he did have the Frenchman rocking and Buatsi suspects he’s been unfairly denied another stoppage win.

“I remember him getting up and turning round to spit the gumshield out and the referee waved. But as he waved the bell went as well. I was like where does that leave it?” he wondered.

According to his official record, it leaves it as a 60-54 points victory. But Buatsi mused, “In my eyes if the fighter stands up but turns around and spits out the gumshield, turns around and surrenders – he’s given up and the referee’s waved off and the bell went. So was he saved by the bell? Or was it a stoppage?”

He is not however overly troubled. “I got the win. People might look at me and think, ‘Okay two knockouts maybe he’s not putting out everyone, let’s fight him,’” he said. “In terms of getting the rounds in, it was very good and showing a bit more with my jab. It was okay. Out of the three I would say it’s the one that I probably boxed the best in. The rounds were done comfortably, boxing sometimes, fighting sometimes. I would say out of the three it was possibly the best one.”

Most hot prospects spend the early months of their professional careers hammering no-hopers to burnish their records. Buatsi of course has been victorious but his opponents, notably Carlos Mena and tough Frenchman Baptiste Castegnaro, have been surprisingly game. “The guys that I’ve had. They might not be as good as me technically but they’ve come [thinking,] ‘I’m going to win.’ They’ve come with that mentality. So it makes the fight a lot more interesting. It makes it maybe not as one-sided but I try to make as one-sided as possible,” Buatsi said. “I think that’ll do me good, rather than chinning everyone.

“Maybe these three opponents will have benefited me.”

Before the end of the year the Croydon man wants to move up into British title contention. With Frank Buglioni the current champion, Hosea Burton a former titlist, Callum Johnson the next challenger and Anthony Yarde highly touted, he is in an exciting division domestically, not to mention at world level.

“I need to get the fights in, step up in rounds. Those guys are good but like I keep saying we’re all good. It’s easy to talk but when you get in there someone has to win. Timing is very important in this game. I could fight all these guys now but timing is very important. So once my team feels my time is right, the opponent is right, let’s take it. Then we hit it and we do what we have to do. It’s not about getting caught up and taking the fights at the wrong time,” Joshua said. “I think the best light-heavy at the moment is Burton. If I were to pick I would say Burton is the best out of them. At the moment, he’s the best at the moment.”

He continued, “He’s got very long arms, tall at the weight, long at the weight. Good attributes to make a good fighter. That just means I will have to present a style that’s going to beat that. But I think he uses that quite well. All the other light-heavies are good but I think Burton is the biggest threat at light-heavy in Britain.”

Buatsi has neither sparred nor boxed Burton before. He has though beaten Hosea’s brother Zach. “I had a good tear up with his brother Zach Burton. 2011 or 12, in Folkstone, in the Youth CYPs. A total tear up. Fortunately I won. It was a good fight,” Joshua said.

So if Hosea wants revenge for the family he’ll have to fight Buatsi? “Basically.”

Joshua Buatsi

But the Londoner isn’t one to waste his energy fomenting rivalries. He’s simply interested in the boxing. “We’re all aware that down the line we’ll probably fight each other,” he shrugs. “We know business is business.”

He has no particular gripes with Anthony Yarde, a fellow Londoner, fellow light-heavyweight who doesn’t have the Olympic bronze medallist’s credentials but is attracting a lot of attention as he rises through the professional ranks. “Just because he hasn’t got a medal doesn’t mean he shouldn’t get the hype or the building of whatever’s behind him. That shouldn’t be the case. What he’s getting, he deserves. He’s had to work and he’s doing what he’s doing. Olympic medal or no Olympic medal, he’s doing what he has to do. I don’t think that he’s over-hyped or anything,” Buatsi said.

In general Buatsi reckons, “Going into a Twitter war and stuff like that, that’s not really me. As entertaining as it is.”

He does however caution, “I won’t get into back and forth wars on Twitter but one thing I won’t allow is to be disrespected. The talk can be done but the fight will happen and the fight will be made… The Twitter stuff is good but for me I don’t really take that approach. If you want to fight me and you genuinely think you can beat me and everything makes sense, then let’s do it. Let’s make it happen.”

Buatsi is well aware that his professional career is merely getting started. He has his fourth fight on February 3 at the O2 in London. “I’ve only just had three fights. A fight is a fight. Let me do a year in the game and then tell you what I think,” he says. “For now there’s not much to say about it. I haven’t been in a 10 round war or got a title to talk about what it’s like to be in a championship fight. The most I’ve done is six rounds. So there’s not much to try and hype about.

“I just need to keep performing to make people want to watch me… Just win.”