Buatsi Debuts For BOXXER Against World-Ranked Stepien In Next Tilt Towards Title Shot; Buatsi vs Stepien
WBA #1, Croydon’s Joshua Buatsi (16-0, 13 KOs) makes his BOXXER debut this Saturday, May 6 at Birmingham’s 15,000-capacity Resorts World Arena live on Sky Sports.
Buatsi will face Poland’s unbeaten, world-ranked contender Pawel Stepien (18-0-1, 12 KOs) over twelve rounds at Light Heavyweight. Stepien is ranked in 3 governing bodies: #4 with the IBF, #13 with the WBA and #14 with the WBO.
The Pole was scheduled to face WBC mandatory challenger Callum Smith before Smith pulled out with ten days to go citing an injury.
Stepien has 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.
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 highly-rated contender beat domestic rival Craig Richards in the battle of south London in his last contest ten months ago.
Buatsi 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, with the other 14 being on Sky, he doesn’t believe they are better than Sky in the UK alone.
Hearn claims that the 30-year-old left because he did not want to step up to world level. The unbeaten light heavyweight turned down two world title shots against WBA champion Dmitry Bivol with the latest offer being worth £1.25m.
Regardless, the next chapter in Buatsi’s journey has begun and a statement against Stepien, who he is expected to comfortably beat, will be vital in building back the momentum of the 2016 Olympian’s career.
Joshua Buatsi vs Pawel Stepien Undercard
In what is being billed as a ‘historic’ occasion, Tokyo 2020 Olympic Gold Medallist Lauren Price MBE (3-0, 1 KO) meets former European Welterweight champion Kirstie Bavington (7-3-2, 2 KOs) for the inaugural British title.
Price turned professional with BOXXER around a year ago and has boasted three wins including a win over common Bavington foe Naomi Mannes. Bavington’s three defeats are at the hands of Kandi Wyatt in her last contest two months ago, Sandy Ryan on Ryan’s debut and Cherrelle Brown in 2019.
Tyler Denny (16-2-3) faces Joe Gallagher-trained Macauley McGowan (17-3-2, 3 KO’s), who came away with a controversial draw decision in Paris last month after seemingly clearly besting the home fighter over eight rounds.
2020 Olympic silver medallist Ben Whittaker (2-0, 1 KOs) returns to the ring following a 9-month layoff due to a neck/disc injury which has seen him sidelined since August last year.
Whittaker faces Jordan Grant (6-3, 1 KO) over six rounds at Light Heavyweight, a fight which isn’t really a significant step up but will get him back in the ring so he can build some momentum and move into title fights in 2024.
Kaisee Benjamin (16-2-1, 6 KOs) will challenge for the WBO European super-lightweight championship held by Ireland’s Sean McComb (15-1, 5 KOs).
Benjamin put in a better-than-expected performance against British champion Dalton Smith, who faces Sam Maxwell on July 1, last November whilst McComb has won four in a row since his own loss for the Lonsdale belt against new Matchroom signing Gavin Gwynne.
Buatsi vs Stepien Preliminary Action
Hometown favourite Cori Gibbs (17-1, 3 KOs) is out for revenge when he faces Jimmy First in a rematch of their December Bournemouth encounter.
That fight ended with the previously-undefeated lightweight Gibbs losing a decision due to having three points deducted across the course of the bout as a faulty new gumshield kept falling from his mouth.
Former British light-heavyweight champion Shakan Pitters (17-2, 6 KOs) faces former English champion Joel McIntyre (20-6, 5 KOs), with both fighters looking for a win to return themselves to the contender conversation.
8-0 lightweight Danny Quartermaine faces an undetermined opponent over four rounds.
Buatsi vs Stepien Running Order
4 x 3 mins Lightweight @9st 11lbs
Danny Quartermaine – 9st 5lbs
Christian Lopez Flores – 9st 8lbs 5oz
6/8 x 3 mins Lightweight Contest @ 9st 12lbs
Cori Gibbs – 9st 11lbs
Jimmy “The Fist” First – 9st 10lbs 5oz
8 x 3 mins Light-Heavyweight Contest @ 12st 10lbs
Shakan Pitters – 12st 11lbs
Joel McIntyre – 12st 10lbs 5oz
Live On Sky Sports
10 x 3 mins Super-Lightweight Contest @ 10st 2lbs
Sean McComb – 9st 13lbs 5oz
Kaisee Benjamin – 10st
10 x 3 mins Middleweight Contest @ 11st 6llbs
Macaulay McGowan – 11st 5lbs
Tyler Denny – 11st 5lbs 5oz
6 x 3 mins Light-Heavyweight Contest @ 12st 10lbs
Ben Whittaker – 12st 6lbs 5oz
Jordan “the Game” Grant – 12st 7lbs
10 x 2 mins Welterweight Contest @10st 7lbs
Lauren Price – 10st 6lbs 5oz
Kirstie Bavington – 10st 6lbs
12 x 3 mins Light-Heavyweight Contest @ 12st 7lbs
Joshua Buatsi – 12st 6lbs
Pawel Stepien – 12st 7lbs
Joshua Buatsi vs Pawel Stepien UK Time, Tickets, And Main Event Ring Walks
An 8-fight card which features 2020 Olympic silver medalist Ben Whittaker and more is scheduled to begin at 5:00 pm BST (12:00 pm ET, 9:00 am PT) on the Sky Sports Boxing YouTube channel with the main card a little while later at 7 pm BST (2 pm ET, 11 am PT) on Sky Sports Action and free on Sky Showcase in the UK.
Main Event Ring Walks will occur at approximately 10:15 pm BST (5:15 pm ET, 2:15 pm PT). Stay tuned to NoSmokeSport.com for more details about fight week updates as they happen. Tickets for the event, starting at £28, are still available.
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Joshua Buatsi vs Pawel Stepien – 12 Rounds Light Heavyweight – Sat, May 6– Genting Arena, Birmingham – Live On Sky Sports