Eddie Hearn is aiming for Joshua Buatsi to face both Callum Johnson and Anthony Yarde in 2021 and then win a world title
Joshua Buatsi steps back in the ring tonight after a 400 day break he did not want.
After a stellar 2019 that saw him grab wins in Madison Square Garden and the O2, the coronavirus pandemic has forced many fighters to step back, but precious few that were carrying the momentum like the Olympic bronze medalist.
The 27 year old is 12-0 heading into his showdown with Marko Calic in Milton Keynes tonight and his promoter Eddie Hearn believes should he be successful against the Croatian – which he expects him to be – Buatsi’s first world title challenge is just around the corner.
“I think that 2021 is definitely the year he fights for a world title, personally,” Hearn started.
Domestic rival Anthony Yarde challenged for Sergey Kovalev’s WBO light heavyweight title in late 2019, but after running out of gas late on he was eventually stopped by the Russian.
Yarde had a fantastic flurry in the eighth round where he wobbled the champion and came within one good punch of putting him away, but ultimately, he didn’t have enough in the tank.
Hearn thinks you could say Yarde took that fight too early, but they won’t make that mistake with Buatsi.
“Anthony Yarde took that fight against Kovalev… it’s disrespectful to say he took it for the money, but if the money wasn’t what it was, he would never have taken the fight. I’m not saying they didn’t think they had a chance of winning, but it was much too early for Yarde, everyone knew that, but the money and the opportunity was too big to turn down.
“With Buatsi, we’re running it and managing him slightly different to the point where, the money will come because of his ability, so no need to make a mistake and take a fight before his time,” Hearn told talkSPORT.
“As it happens, Yarde’s stock wasn’t affected by the Kovalev fight. As it happens, it probably went up! But we don’t want to suffer a defeat or get knockout by taking the wrong fight at the wrong time.
“Doesn’t mean we won’t be brave and ambitious, but the timing of Buatsi… being out for 400 days is a long time for a young man with so few fights. So, tonight, I expect Calic to give it everything. I expect him to be out-gunned and probably knocked out as well.”
Matchroom Boxing are expected to announce the details of Anthony Joshua’s fight with Kubrat Pulev on December 12 next week and Hearn wants Buatsi on that card all being well.
Following that, there’s some big domestic showdowns in Hearn’s sights that would lead to the world title.
“Hopefully, we can get Buatsi straight back in and on the AJ card in December. Once we’ve done that, I think the first part of 2021 should be Callum Johnson. That should be the fight for Buatsi.
“That’s a great domestic fight, Callum Johnson is a great fighter who punches very, very hard. And that’s a fight people can get really excited about. Then, we’ve got the Anthony Yarde fight.
“But, also, we’ve got Dmitry Bivol. The problem with 175lbs is, the world champions are so good. You got Artur Beterbiev who is the WBC and IBF champion as well – both of them are brilliant.
“Buatsi can beat them both, but he has to be ready for a fight like that. That’s not fighting a faded Kovalev, these are pound-for-pound animals. But I believe Buatsi is a pound-for-pound animal as well. All he’s lacking is experience.”
Tune in and check out Joshua Buatsi in action on an exciting Matchroom Boxing card from 7pm tonight (Sunday, October 4) on Sky Sports