Joshua Buatsi, who overcame friend turned rival Dan Azeez to win the Britith light heavyweight title and also a shot at the WBA title, their fight of Saturday night at the OVO Arena being a final eliminator, wants to fight the winner of the upcoming, June 1st showdown between Artur Beterbiev and Dmitry Bivol. But first, as he said when speaking with Sky Sports, Accra-born Buatsi has no problem fighting London rival Anthony Yarde next as he waits for his big chance.
Buatsi, who improved to 18-0(13) with his 12 round UD win over Azeez, says he wants to stay active and not just sit around and wait for his earned shot at the WBA belt that is currently the property of Bivol.
“I want to keep active and, before you ask me, yes I’m still interested in a Yarde fight,” Buatsi said after his big win over the previously unbeaten Azeez. “If that fight proposes itself and it’s a good one and my team and I think it’s good, we’ll take that too. Absolutely. As long as the numbers are right and my team feels it’s right, absolutely. The Yarde one, people have been looking forward to and talking about it for a long time.”
If Buatsi does fight Yarde next, it will be another big domestic fight, one with so much on the line. A natural for The O2, or some other arena in London, fans would perhaps look at Buatsi Vs. Yarde as a 50-50 fight. Yarde, 24-3(23) gave reigning WBC/IBF/WBO light heavyweight champ Beterbiev a great fight in January of last year, and he has also been in with Sergey Kovalev and Lyndon Arthur. As good as Buatsi is, Yarde would arguably be his toughest foe thus far.
It’s a risky fight for both 175 pounders but the reward would make it worth it. For Yarde, a win over Buatsi would very possibly earn him a third world title shot, while a win over Yarde would almost certainly see Buatsi earn his first crack at becoming a world champion.
Who wins and how if Buatsi and Yarde do get it on later this year?