Joshua Buatsi does not intend to sit on his lead.
Enough time has been lost in the career of the unbeaten light heavyweight, who ironically is in a position to where he can coast into his first career title shot. With just one fight in 2023, however, Buatsi would love a more active campaign. The new year jumped off to a promising start, as he twice dropped and soundly outpointed countryman and fellow top contender Dan Azeez over twelve rounds this past Saturday at OVO Arena Wembley.
“Ideally, I feel like I have to fight no less than three times this year,” Buatsi told BoxingScene.com.
The win saw Croydon’s Buatsi (18-0, 13KOs) become the mandatory challenger to the WBA light heavyweight title, Dmitry Bivol (22-0, 11KOs) has held the title since November 2017 and is now poised to face lineal, WBC, IBF and WBO champion Artur Beterbiev (20-0, 20KOs) for the undisputed championship on June 1 in Saudi Arabia.
The magnitude of the fight is not lost on Buatsi, a 2016 Olympic Bronze medalist who is prepared to challenge for all the belts rather than force Bivol’s hand. He already has a stay-busy fight in mind—another domestic matchup, in fact, versus former two-time title challenger Anthony Yarde (24-3, 23KOs).
“If the world title shot can’t be next then I would love to sneak in a Yarde fight,” Buatsi insisted. “Definitely want to fight Anthony Yarde. It would be nice to fit that one in this year while we’re waiting for the mandatory to be enforced.”
Yarde is currently due to face Serbia’s Marko Nikolic (32-3, 12KOs) this Saturday at Copper Box Arena in Hackney Wick.
The timing works perfect as they would remain on the same schedule. Buatsi would love nothing more to add another notable contender to his resume and stay sharp for what would be significantly raised stakes when he gets to challenge for the division’s top prize.
“If Beterbiev and Bivol get to unify, then we get to face the undisputed champion for all the belts,” theorized Buatsi. “We want to fight for a world title but now it looks like we get to fight for all four instead of just one.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. X (formerly Twitter): @JakeNDaBox