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Joshua Buatsi hoping to fight in December

Joshua Buatsi

By Kenneth Friedman: WBA International light heavyweight champion Joshua Buatsi (13-0, 11 KOs) has been told by his doctor that he only has swelling on his left eye from his fight last Sunday night against challenger Marko Calic (11-1, 6 KOs).

Despite suffering the left eye injury in the second round, the 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Buatsi fought well and were Calic down until stopping him in the seventh round at the Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes, England.

Buatsi, 27, hopes to get in one more fight at the end of the year, possibly against Callum Johnson (18-1, 13 KOs) or former world title challenger Anthony Yarde (20-1, 19 KOs). More likely it’ll be Callum, 35, as he’s from the same Matchroom Boxing stable, says Buatsi.

Smith has been out of the ring for a year and a half since his third-round knockout victory over Sean Monaghan in March 2019. If the heavy-handed Callum does face Buatsi in December, he’ll have a lot of ring-rust to deal with, but that’s something he’ll need to decide on.

Buatsi wants a bridging type of fight to get him to the next level to prepare for a world title shot or a fight for the European Boxing Union [EBU] 175-pound title.

Joshua Buatsi

The doctor said Buatsi’s eye just swollen

“It’s good. The doctor said it’s just a bit of selling. Hopefully, it goes down quickly,” said Buatsi to IFL TV about his injured left eye from his win over Calic.

“It was 400 days, but a good run for the money from Marko Calic, and big respect to him. I know it was competitive in every round, and I know that I landed a shot that hurt him.

“Once that landed, I said I have to go in there and close the show. I’m grateful that I got it done. Am I pleased with it? Having this happen [eye injury], I can honestly say no, but again, it was adversity I’ve never faced before.

“These things do happen. It was early in the fight when it happened, and I managed to come out on top. From that perspective, I said, ‘Cool,’ but the eye swelled up, and the vision went a little bit, but you went with it and came out on top,” said Buatsi.

With Buatsi’s swollen up left eye, he’s going need a few weeks of rest before he can start training for a fight in December. If he’s going to be put on the undercard of IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua vs. Kubrat Pulev on December 12th, he won’t have much time to rest.

Callum Johnson is a dangerous opponent for Buatsi to face with a short training camp to prepare for that fight. It might be a better idea for Buatsi to take on Sullivan Barrera or Blake Caparello in December instead of Callum.

Facing Barrera or Caparaello won’t be a bridging fight Buatsi, but they’re easier contests to prepare for with an abbreviated training camp.

Callum Johnson likely next for Buatsi

“Undoubtedly, yeah,” said Buatsi when asked if he had a problem with ring rust. “Going in, it wasn’t on my mind. Now we’re talking about it, yeah, maybe it was ring rust, but it wasn’t on my mind. This was it. I was there to fight.

“Two names are being mentioned,” said Buatsi about his next fight, possibly in December.

“More realistically the [Callum] Johnson one. As a boxer, we will fight whoever we’re going to fight, as long as it makes sense, and everyone is happy with the deal and everything, then it will happen,” said Buatsi.

“If it makes everyone happy, then we’ll get in there and do what e got to do. I’m not a promoter or manager. I’m a fighter. This is something the public may not know. Fighters will fight anyone.

“This is boxing. We’re in here to fight, as long as the terms and conditions are right, we’re cool and with it. To a large extent, your promoters and managers make that happen.

“Not a preference, but if you look at a few things with the promoters and TVs, it’s obvious that with [Callum] Johnson, we’re in the same stable, so that’s an easy one to make,” said Buatsi when asked if he has a preference between Callum Johnson and Anthony Yarde for his next fight.

“The one with a bigger attraction is the one with Yarde. But listen, I’m glad my name is in the mix. I could have been left out. I’m hoping these fights will happen when I’m not too sure,” Joshua said.

Putting Buatsi in with Callum in December could be a bad idea. Callum will be coming into the contest fresh, and ready to take Buatsi’s head off with each punch.

Hearn will pick JB’s “bridging fight” for December

“I could have been in a dead vision, or I could have been in a situation where I wasn’t considered,” Buatsi about him having options for next fight.

“It’s good for myself, Yarde and Johnson, that you’ve got dancing partners that people want to see you dance. It’s good to know,” said Buatsi.

“That name [Sullivan Barrera] got mentioned a year ago. All these names get chucked out at me. If that’s the fighter, then I’ll get ready to fight.

“The spin on this one is I’m back. I’ve had a fight after 400 days,” said Buatsi. “So we go home, we regroup, and we reset, and whatever is next, we’re with it. I’m happy to be back.

“It’s been a long time, a frustrating time, but I’m here. If Barrera is the name and everything is agreed, then cool if it’s another fighter. If it’s next year, cool. I’ll be ready.

“I think so, but I’m not too sure,” said Buatsi when asked if Blake Caparello is one of the names on his list for his next fight. “I wouldn’t be surprised, yeah. Eddie [Hearn] is the guy to say, ‘This is the list and options we have for JB, and we’ll see what his team picks. 

Joshua Buatsi

“We want that bridging fight from here and World level or European or whatever it is. Hopefully, we’ll get it,” said Joshua. “Hopefully, that’s the aim 100%,” said Buatsi when asked if he could fight at the end of the year.

Hearn is generally cautious in selecting opponents or his fighters, so he might choose to go the soft route for Buatsi.

He obviously saw the same holes in Buatsi’s game that boxing fans observed last Sunday in his contest against Calic. With Buatsi’s leaky defense, he’ll have problems against a slugger like Callum.

Hearn has to decide how he wants to move Buatsi because he’s spinning his wheels right now with the weak opposition he’s been feeding him.

Joshua Buatsi

Unless Hearn wants to keep Buatsi at this same level until he’s in his 30s, he’s going to have to move him up against true contenders sooner or later. Johnson is up there in age at 35, and he may be ready for Buatsi to beat him. If this fight were made a couple of years ago, Buatsi would have many problems with Callum’s power. But the ring rust and the age might be enough for Buatsi to defeat Johnson.

Yarde would be a dangerous fight for Buatsi right now beaus he’s got huge power, and he seems to be fighting in a more relaxed, energy-saving manner now. That would be a tough fight for Buatsi to take in December, but it would have more upside.


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