Joshua Buatsi reveals his plans for the next 12 months, including an American debut, as he rates the domestic rivals he hopes to soon meet in the ring.
The Croydon star – a 2016 Olympic bronze medallist – has impressed so far in six professional fights and now, having seen former Team GB team-mates Josh Kelly and Lawrence Okolie line up major title shots, he is ready to turn his own screw in the 175lbs division.
The domestic scene has flourished over the past two years, headed by Callum Johnson, Frank Buglioni, Hosea Burton and Anthony Yarde, and Buatsi believes he is ready to join the party.
Buatsi insists there is more to come from him despite winning all six of his professional bouts so far
The unbeaten prospect already has his next two outings tentatively pencilled in and he then believes title fights could be in the offering.
“I know I’m next out in July and then I will be fighting in the USA after that,” Buatsi exclusively told Sky Sports.
“My promoter Eddie Hearn has just announced this new American deal and not many promoters have tried to crossover like he has. It’s exciting to see what he does.
“It’s a great feeling to be taken over there, to go to a different country with a new audience, it’ll be up to me to put on a show and deliver a memorable performance.
“In a year’s time, I want to be headlining a show and have a title, it would be a great way to mark having been a pro for two years. I would have been in a proper 12-round fight and maybe even got a grudge match or rivalry out of the way – I like the thought of that.
“I want the British and Commonwealth belts. In my division, one man holds both (Johnson). He may vacate the titles by the time I get there so I could get a chance sooner rather than later.”
So with Buatsi determined to start his title collection, how does the 25-year-old rate his rivals?
Johnson demolished Buglioni in the first round to win the British light-heavyweight title
I have to give Johnson massive props, he came out of nowhere, pretty much, to beat the number one light-heavy in the country. He wasn’t active and I did think that would cost him but he took the opportunity presented to him in emphatic fashion.
He holds both the British and Commonwealth belts, but he could vacate them by the time I get to that point. He’s due to fight for a world title against [Artur] Beterbiev so fair play to him again, he’s clearly got massive guts.
Buglioni would be up for a rematch with Hosea Burton after he lost his British title to Callum Johnson
I’ve sparred Frank before and he was very unlucky to fall short in his third defence of the British, it was unlucky and it was a shame that he couldn’t get the belt for keeps.
He has proved himself to be a good, decent, light-heavy and has beat undefeated fighters time after time so you have to give him credit. Johnson was meant to be next on his hit list, but it didn’t work out. Of course he can come again. He’s from London as well so I like the thought of facing local fighters.
Before he lost to Buglioni back in 2016, I kept telling people that I thought Burton was the best light-heavy in the country. He’s just a very tricky, unorthodox, fighter and they can be the hardest to face sometimes.
I’d still say Burton poses the biggest threat in the division, he’s just waiting for another opportunity to come up. The fact he lost to Buglioni in a brilliant fight shows how competitive the division is.
Everyone wants to see me face Yarde and it’s a fight I 100 per cent want, all the public interest makes it exciting. He’s done everything right and been matched appropriately, I’d love to find out once and for all who is better.
I want the domestic belts eventually, of course, and if Johnson does decide to move on, two challengers will be ordered to fight for each of them. I know Yarde is ranked highly in Britain so you would assume it would be him against someone else.