Joshua Buatsi Could Face World-Ranked Polish Fighter On BOXXER Debut
WBA #1, Croydon’s Joshua Buatsi (16-0, 13 KOs) will make his BOXXER debut on May 6 at Birmingham’s 15,000-capacity Resorts World Arena live on Sky Sports.
NoSmokeSport has learnt that the frontrunner to face Buatsi is Poland’s unbeaten, world-ranked contender Pawel Stepien (18-0-1, 12 KOs). Stepien is ranked in 2 governing bodies: #6 with the IBF, and #13 with the WBA.
The Pole was scheduled to face WBC mandatory challenger Callum Smith before Smith pulled out with ten days to go citing an injury. The fight between Smith and Stepien was subject to heavy criticism on social media considering Smith is in line to face unified champion Artur Beterbiev next and has only recorded one fight/year for three consecutive years.
Stepien has notable decision wins over Ezequiel Osvaldo Maderna and Marek Matyja. Maderna upset prospect Karol Itauma on the Beterbiev-Yarde undercard whilst Matyja gave Craig Richards a competitive fight early, when they met in Oct 2021, before being stopped in the sixth round.
After an encouraging start to his pro career in July 2017, Buatsi has struggled with activity over the last few years managing just four bouts in the last three years compared to the twelve occasions he fought on in the two years prior to that.
The highly-rated contender beat domestic rival Craig Richards in the battle of south London in his last contest ten months ago. Buatsi is the WBA #1, WBO #2, WBC #2 and IBF #14. Also with BOXXER is WBA #2, WBC #5, WBO #7 and IBF #7 Dan Azeez.
A fight between Buatsi and Azeez could easily be a title eliminator if not a final eliminator and is easy to make with them both being under the same banner and open to facing each other.
Buatsi has had all 16 of his fights under Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing but recently left the promoter to join Ben Shalom’s BOXXER. The unbeaten light heavyweight explained that he felt he wasn’t getting the exposure he deserved on DAZN and clarified on TalkSport that although he doesn’t know the viewing numbers for his two fights on DAZN, he doesn’t believe they are better than Sky Sports.
The 30-year-old turned down two world title shots against WBA champion Dmitry Bivol with Hearn revealing the latest offer being worth £1.25m. The promoter claimed he was disappointed at Buatsi for turning down Bivol and a final eliminator with Jean Pascal and claimed the Brit still wanted to fight at domestic level.
Buatsi claims Hearn is only telling a part of the whole story and explained to Boxing Social that he didn’t want the other elements to the deal offered “What were the caveats? You end up signing an extension of another 2/3 years at a channel you don’t wanna be on… This guy will say anything he wants to say, I couldn’t care less.”
Joshua Buatsi vs Pawel Stepien – May 6 In Birmingham?