Joshua Buatsi battles Pawel Stepien this Saturday, ready for world title shot

By Boxing News - 05/04/2023 - Comments

By Barry Holbrook: Unbeaten Joshua Buatsi will be coming off a year layoff when he takes on unbeaten Pawel Stepien in the twelve-round main event on Sky Sports at Birmingham’s Resorts World Arena in England. The event will be shown at 7 pm on Sky Sports Action and Sky Showcase.

Stepien (18-0-1, 12 KOs) should provide a good test for the six-year pro Buatsi to see whether he’s ready to challenge for a world title. Stepien is ranked #4 IBF, #13 WBA, and #14 WBO.

The 32-year-old Stepien, who comes from Poland, has wins over Norbert Dabrowski, Dmitry Sukhotskiy, and Ezequiel Osvaldo Maderna. We recently saw Maderna destroy prospect Karol Itauma in five rounds last January.

Providing he wins, the 2016 Olympian Buatsi (16-0, 13 KOs) hopes to challenge WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol or IBF, WBC & WBO 175lb champ Artur Beterbiev next.

Buatsi’s former promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing, had planned on matching him against Bivol for a title shot this summer, but he opted not to take the fight then.

The 30-year-old Buatsi must start moving his career along because he’s getting up there in age for a fighter that has never fought for a world title. You’d hate to see Buatsi at 32 or 33, fighting for a world title for the first time.

Buatsi is ranked #1 WBA, #2 WBO, #3 WBC, and #13 IBF. He last fought twelve months ago, beating Craig Richards by decision in a war. That was not an easy fight for Buatsi, as he took many shots from Richards and was stunned several times.


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“When you win an amateur tournament, you come back with something tangible, a medal to show people,” said Buatsi.

“In the professional ranks, the equivalent is a world title belt, and that’s what I want: something tangible to show people that I am the world champion. So the aim this year is to have something tangible to show the people.”

Buatsi should win this fight, but with the layoff, you never know. Stepien would be a tough out even if Buatsi were active, but with him the twelve-month layoff, you never know.

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