Joshua Buatsi (15-0, 13 KOs) stayed unbeaten on Saturday night in stopping the game Ricards Bolotniks (18-6-1, 8 KOs) in the eleventh round in a tougher than expected fight at the Matchroom HQ in Brentwood, Essex, UK.
With Bolotnik looked tired and beaten, Buatsi connected with a beautiful right hand that folded him like a deck of cards, sending him crashing down on the canvas in the 11th round. Referee Howard John Foster chose not to bother with giving a count, as Bolotniks was much too hurt to make it back up.
The official time of the stoppage was at 2:08 of round 11. It was a good back and forth fight for the most part, with both guys landing massive punches.
Buatsi knocked Bolotniks down in the sixth round with a left hook to the head. Bolotniks had thrown his left hook, which landed, but Buatsi’s left hand had more power and caught him perfectly, sending him down.
Buatsi went all out trying to score a knockout after Bolotniks got back to his feet, but he couldn’t finish the job. At one point, Buatsi wasted valuable time showboating by threatening the hurt Bolotniks with a bolo punch.
That was a silly move on Buatsi’s part because he had the guy right where he wanted, and he didn’t have to showboat for the crowd while going for the knockout in the sixth.
The effort that Buatsi put into trying to knock Bolotnik out in the sixth left him completely exhausted, leaving him spent for the two rounds.
Bolotnik took advantage of Buatsi’s depleted state by going after him in the seventh and eighth rounds to get the better of the action.
Going into the ninth round, Buatsi’s trainer Virgil Hunter started to sound desperate, as he knew the fight was slipping away from him. Hunter gave Buatsi a pep talk to go after Bolotniks, which he did, and he could regain control of the fight.
Bolotniks proved tough with the way he took Buatsi’s best shots and stayed there to land his own big punches.
If he had thrown more shots, he would have had a chance of making it interesting because Buatsi was there to be hit throughout the fight.
Bolotniks was too timid at times, and he let Buatsi control the fight by being busier in a way that you wouldn’t see from a better light heavyweight like Dmitry Bivol, Artur Beterbiev, or Joe Smith Jr. Those guys would have been pressing Buatsi and bouncing shots off his chin.
There were positives and negatives to see from Buatsi’s performance tonight. On the positive side, he showed a good jab and excellent punching power. His punch resistance was good as well.
On the negative side, Buatsi’s lack of stamina was poor, reminding this writer of Anthony Joshua with the way he gasses out and requires two or three rounds before getting his second wind.
The way that he was catching Buatsi with clean shots in each round was worrisome. Had that been a bigger puncher like Beterbiev or Joe Smith Jr that was landing those shots, Buatsi likely would have gone to sleep. Also, Buatsi never seemed like he was in full control of the fight, as Bolotnik’s always appeared one punch away from winning.
It’s up to Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn what he wants to do with Buatsi. He can put him in with Bivol and hope for the best, or he can continue to match Buatsi against stiffer competition and hope he improves.