Preparing to make the sixth defence of his WBA International light-heavyweight title this weekend vs. unbeaten Frenchman Daniel Blenda Dos Santos (15-0), Joshua Buatsi (13-0, 11 KOs) has spoken of his excitement at being able to showcase his improvements after venturing to the US under world-renowned trainer Virgil Hunter as he eyes a title shot in the near future.
Buatsi’s USA move a decision to avoid stagnation
After coming through in what proved the toughest test of his professional career to date against a gamely Marko Calic, Buatsi faces another underdog in the form of Dos Santos this weekend.
The 30-year-old, whose strung together five wins on the regional scene in France since Buatsi’s last appearance on October 5, only has three career victories vs. boxers with a positive record.
Buatsi, who travelled to San Francisco for a link-up with Hunter, believes the decision will strengthen his pursuit of a world title opportunity in the not-too-distant future.
He’s aware that Dos Santos’ record makes him an ambitious opponent who will dig deep to retain his spotless streak, though has some things up his sleeve to showcase this weekend.
As quoted by BoxingScene, the 28-year-old said:
“In my last fight I found out that if I have to dig deep because it’s not going my way, I’m capable of doing it. That’s in the bank now, before I thought it was, but I’d never been tested. I know it’s there.
I told him [Vergil] I was going to come and train with him one day, he said the door to his gym was open whenever I was ready. I’ve come out here to learn more, add things to my game – it’s going really well so far.”
Buatsi (#2 WBA, #3 IBF) is eyeing a step-up in competition before he looks to challenge for world titles, something that has been promised of him in the past but failed to materialise – plenty of factors have all hurt his in-ring development with many critics feeling as though he’s stagnated.
He’s #1 domestically, ahead of Lyndon Arthur, Anthony Yarde, Callum Johnson and Craig Richards – despite all four having at least five more professional fights than him by comparison.
Johnson lost to current WBC and IBF title-holder Artur Beterbiev (16-0, 16 KOs) three years ago, while Yarde came very close to toppling then WBO champion Sergey Kovalev in August 2019.
He was outpointed by Arthur last December, while Richards had a surprise world title shot but lost on the cards to WBA champ Dmitry Bivol on the Chisora-Parker undercard two weeks ago.
Hunter, who famously guided the career of retired unbeaten pound-for-pound light-heavyweight star Andre Ward (32-0, 16 KOs), has adopted a different approach which Buatsi appreciates.
“Sometimes in the corner, it’s not really even boxing advice that he’s giving me, it’s something totally different.
It’s linked to boxing, so I’ll do it and be like ‘cool, that worked.’ It’s a whole different spin and approach from him but I’m really enjoying it.
I’ll be there listening to the instructions that Virgil gives me, I’m very excited and looking forward to showing people what I’ve been learning out here.
The public haven’t seen how good I can or will be. I want to unlock the potential I’ve got – this team addition will 100% bring the best out of me.”
Picture source: BoxingScene