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Buatsi Stops Bolotniks In WBA Light-Heavyweight World Title Eliminator

Image: Buatsi Stops Bolotniks In WBA Light-Heavyweight World Title Eliminator

By William Lloyd: Undefeated light heavyweight contender Joshua Buatsi (15-0, 13 KOs) scored an 11th round knockout win over #3 WBA Ricards Bolotniks (18-6-1, 8 KOs) on Saturday night at the Matchroom HQ in Brentwood, Essex.

The 2016 Olympian Buatsi, 28, dropped Bolotniks with a big right hand in the 11th round to get the knockout. Bolotniks was too hurt to get back up, and referee Howard Foster called a halt to the contest at that point.

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In the sixth round, Buatsi dropped Bolotniks with a big left hook to the head that hurt him. After he got back to his feet, Bolotniks, 30, was met with withering fire by Buatsi, who basically emptied everything he had trying to get him out of there.

Buatsi gassed badly after the sixth round

Unfortunately, Buatsi couldn’t do, and he gassed out for the next two rounds, unable to keep up with Bolotniks in the seventh and eighth rounds. However, Buatsi got his second win beginning in the ninth and continued to dominate as before, hitting the Latvian with jabs at will.

When Bolotniks was throwing shots, he landing well. In the first round, he nailed Buatsi with a massive right hand in the closing seconds that would have dropped many fighters.

In the 8th round, Buatsi was penalized by the referee for throwing a low blow. He’d been throwing low the entire fight, and the referee had given him ample warning before finally docking him a point.

Interestingly, Buatsi continued to throw low blows even after the point deduction, but the referee let it pass.

Overall, this was a good but far from a great performance by Buatsi. Although he showed excellent power and a nice punch variety, he was very easy to hit throughout the fight.

Is Buatsi ready for Bivol or Beterbiev?

If this were Artur Beterbiev or Joe Smith Jr that Buatsi had been fighting tonight, it probably wouldn’t have gone well for him, particularly after he gassed out in the sixth. Buatsi is a good fighter, but he’s not going to be able to compete with those guys with the way he fought tonight.

Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn may need to take a good hard look at Buatsi before he gets any ideas of throwing him in with Bivol, Beterbiev, or Joe Smith Jr.

I mean, Hearn can match Buatsi with those guys, but he’ll regret it later. With Buatsi about to turn 29, it’s now or never with him. Hearn can’t wait until Buatsi is pushing 40 before taking the training wheels off.

The way that Buatsi faded after round six, that’s something he can’t afford to do against Beterbiev, Smith Jr, or WBA 175-lb champion Dmitry Bivol.

That’s the guy that Matchroom Boxing guru Eddie Hearn wants Buatsi to fight next, and it’s probably not a good idea for him to take that fight after the way he performed tonight.

Buatsi is a good fighter, but he’s not ready for the upper-tier right now. It would be an excellent idea for Hearn to match Buatsi against one of these fighters first before looking to put him in with Bivol or Beterbiev:

  • Gilberto Ramirez
  • Marcus Browne
  • Craig Richards
  • Badou Jack

Gilberto Ramirez would be the best bet for Buatsi to fight before taking on Bivol.

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