Joshua Buatsi’s Slow-Moving Career Is Partially Down To His Coach’s Unwillingness To Match Him Tough Explains Will Harvey
After an encouraging start to his pro career in July 2017, Joshua Buatsi (16-0, 13 KOs) 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.
Buatsi’s progression also hasn’t been where many feel it should be, including his former representatives Will Harvey (258 MGT) and Eddie Hearn. The 2016 Olympian has only fought twice above the domestic level in his career, his last two fights against Ricards Bolotniks and Craig Richards.
His former manager Harvey explained to Seconds Out why there was a real struggle to create momentum for the highly-rated Light Heavyweight contender.
He stated that a part of it was down to COVID/Injuries which obviously slowed down Buatsi’s progression and activity but acknowledged that some of it was down to his coaches’ unwillingness to match him as tough as they would’ve liked.
“His coaches which he’s had, very experienced, very old school. These guys don’t really like to take risks, they have quite an old-school mentality in terms of how they want to progress the fighter so there was probably an element of battling against them to kind of get the opponents we wanted to and maybe they wanted to take things a little bit more slowly.”
The rate at which other Olympic medalists progressed and the speed at which 258/Matchroom wanted to move Buatsi could not be matched due to Robert McCracken and Virgil Hunter’s insistence on moving Buatsi slower, according to Harvey.
His former promoter Eddie Hearn slammed Buatsi earlier this month for turning down fights. ‘Disappointed, ‘that guy’ took him from pro debut to British, Commonwealth, World #1. Walked him into a 7 figure payday to fight Bivol for the world title, didn’t want that fight, didn’t want the Jean Pascal fight.’
The WBA #1 will make his BOXXER debut on May 6 at Birmingham’s 15,000-capacity Resorts World Arena live on Sky Sports. As first reported by NoSmokeSport.com, Joshua Buatsi will face Poland’s unbeaten, world-ranked contender Pawel Stepien (18-0-1, 12 KOs).
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, criticism which Buatsi has also received for picking Stepien as his opponent.
It must be said though that Buatsi is teaming up with a new promoter and has had a year out of the ring, which makes the opponent easier to justify for him than Smith, who has been ordered to face unified champion Artur Beterbiev next.