EXCLUSIVE: Joshua Buatsi is targeting an autumn showdown against Dmitry Bivol after defeating Craig Richards in a domestic thriller, as he insists an all-British clash against Anthony Yarde has to happen sooner rather than later
- Joshua Buatsi stands at the periphery of world level after beating Craig Richards
- The 29-year-old claimed a massive win over his domestic rival last weekend
- Buatsi now wants Dmitry Bivol, who beat Canelo Alvarez earlier in the month
- The unbeaten star also insists a fight against Anthony Yarde has to happen soon
Joshua Buatsi is targeting a mouth-watering clash against Dmitry Bivol this autumn, after seeing off domestic rival Craig Richards in a thriller at the O2 Arena last weekend.
The 29-year-old displayed guts, determination and ultimately the talent we all knew he possesses as he battled to a unanimous decision victory against his South London counterpart.
The fight was promoted as a title-eliminator for Dmitry Bivol’s WBA (Super) light-heavyweight belt, with the winner progressing towards the unenviable task of facing Canelo Alvarez’s recent conqueror.
Joshua Buatsi (right) remained unbeaten with victory over Craig Richards (left) last weekend
The 29-year-old is now targeting a bout against WBA (Super) champion Dmitry Bivol (left) who defeated Canelo Alvarez (right) earlier in the month
Olympian Buatsi, who remained unbeaten in 16 professional outings with the victory, now insists the Russian – who became an overnight star following his scintillating performance in Las Vegas – is his immediate target.
‘That’s what I’m chasing,’ he told Sportsmail of a bout against Bivol. ‘It’s a matter of whether that fight can be made.
‘That was kind of the reward for whoever won the fight, so of course I’m open to it and hopefully I can get it.’
Buatsi, who revealed he’s looking to get out in either September or October, admits he hasn’t properly analysed the Russian’s performance against Canelo as of yet.
Bivol was wrongly placed as the overwhelming underdog going into the fight, with Canelo then unbeaten since his 2013 defeat to Floyd Mayweather, a match-up which took place when he was just 23.
The swift-footed Russian proved too big, too strong and ultimately too good for the Mexican on a fateful night, with Canelo since announcing he will drop back down to super-middleweight – where he is the undisputed champion – for a third bout against Gennady Golovkin.
With an immediate rematch now out of the question, the coast is potentially clear for Buatsi to take on Bivol, though the Russian will no doubt be closely watching closely as WBC and IBF champion Artur Beterbiev takes on WBO champion Joe Smith Jr next month.
Buatsi admitted he may now start taking a closer look at what could be his impending opponent.
Buatsi admits he may now start taking a closer look at Bivol, potentially his next opponent
It comes after the announcement that Canelo will not take an immediate against Bivol, but instead return to super-middleweight to fight Gennady Golovkin (left) once more
‘It’s a fight that I’ve only watched once, I haven’t watched it back yet,’ he said. ‘It’s hard to comment [on Bivol’s performance] as I was fighting myself two weeks later, so I wasn’t going to sit there, study it and go over it again and again when I had a good opponent in Spider to look forward to.
‘That fight was the day that I landed back in England, so because of jet lag I woke up at round two and watched it until the end. Maybe in the next few days I’ll go back and watch it again but it’s not a priority.’
While Buatsi has fought his way to the periphery of world level, once he’s there there’s no turning back. His manager, Anthony Joshua, recently admitted becoming a world champion in only his 16th fight has been detrimental to his development.
Buatsi’s coach, Virgil Hunter, also promoted caution in the immediate aftermath of his fighter’s victory over Spider, insisting he’d like a little more time before jumping in against the division’s killers.
Russian Artur Beterbiev is the top dog in the light-heavyweight division and would currently be the favourite to beat Buatsi
Beterbiev takes on Joe Smith Jr in an enticing light-heavyweight unification on June 18
But Buatsi, who would be facing Bivol in just his 17th outing, insists he’s ready for the elites – including the likes of Beterbiev and Smith Jr.
‘I’m at a point now where I want to be in these fights,’ he said. ‘I’m having good, competitive fights, I keep showing people that I can fight and I can do this thing called boxing. If the world title is next, I’ll be ready for it.’
Asked whether he’d take fights fights against Beterbiev or Smith Jr, he added: ‘Yeah, man. They’ve got two hands, two legs and everyone can punch.
‘As much as you look at it and think that person’s a dangerous puncher, I think I’m a dangerous puncher too.’
One fight the British public are desperate to see – and will soon be demanding – is a match-up between Buatsi and Anthony Yarde.
Buatsi insists a match-up against British rival Anthony Yarde has to happen in the near future
Promoter Frank Warren recently insisted he believes Yarde will take on the winner of Beterbiev vs Smith Jr, which could see Buatsi jump in for a mammoth unification bout next.
However, even without the belts, Buatsi asserts the bout needs to happen, and soon.
‘Us waiting for this title, title, title, one of us may have one within the next year, who knows.’ He said. ‘But it’s a fight that I think sooner rather than later happens.
‘I’ve experienced a local fight now, and it was fun. I’d like to be in another one.’
Ultimately, it’s a belt that Buatsi craves. Though Bivol and Yarde are primary targets, his main goal is to become an undefeated, undisputed champion – ‘all the uns,’ as he says.
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