Buatsi vs. Bolotniks: ”JB’ steps up at Fight Camp

Joshua Buatsi has vowed to pass his first big test in style as he faces Ricards Bolotniks at the third and final weekend of Fight Camp this Saturday August 14, live worldwide on DAZN.

Buatsi (14-0 12 KOs) puts his WBA International Light-Heavyweight Title on the line in a fight that could catapult the winner into a World Title fight before the end of the year, with both fighters highly ranked across the governing bodies.

Fans and pundits have been waiting patiently for the 2016 Olympic bronze medal man to be tested after cruising to 14-0 and putting his opponents away in style, the latest being a huge KO of the year candidate win over Daniel Dos Santos in May in Manchester, a stunning right hook in the fourth round flooring the unbeaten Frenchman in Buatsi’s first fight with new trainer Virgil Hunter.

Bolotniks is in great form himself having won the MTK Golden Contract in December after wins over Steven Ward, Hosea Burton and Serge Michel, and the Latvian has been bullish in his belief that he will stop Buatsi’s rise.

The likeable Londoner has never involved himself in a war of words before a fight, but the switch will be flicked when he steps between the ropes and promises to come through his sternest test with flying colours.

“People have been asking for me to step up and here we are,” said Buatsi. “I know what I have got to do, if it gets tough, I still know what I need to do. I’ve covered all bases in camp, so I am ready, so tune in and you’ll see.

“It’s part of the game and I understand it and it’s a compliment that people want to see me in with better competition. It’s natural for people to want to see and that’s what is next in line, so it’s down to me to handle it.

“I saw him box in the Golden Contract final, but it was just one round and a bit of him against Hosea Burton, and that’s it. I’ve always said that it’s about improving myself as a fighter and covering all angles and aspects of myself and once I do that, I feel that I can do that with anyone put int front of me.

“I’m looking forward to a lot, it’s been a while since I’ve boxed in front of fans so that’s going to be great, it’s the main event against a good opponent, we’re both ranked highly, we’ve both got winning streaks and believe we’ll win. I’ll be there for every round and if I sense any vulnerability from Bolotniks it’s game over, I’ll take him out.

“It’s boxing, outside the ring you be cool, be calm, be nice, but inside the ring, you handle business. When I fight, I must put it all on the line because people say, ‘Joshua Buatsi is a nice guy’, but if I boxed in a nice way, people wouldn’t care. If you are a big character that’s loud and trash talks, the performance doesn’t matter as much in a way, but I am not like that, so I am aware my performances must do that talking.

“We were aiming for three fights this year, May, August, and the winter. So, the stakes are high, but I will go in with whomever the team puts in front of me, that’s for them, as long as I prepare I’m good, because when you step in the ring there’s no turning back. This is a very dangerous sport, so you have to make sure you are on it.”

BOLOTNIKS: I’VE WANTED THIS FIGHT FOR A LONG TIME

Ricards Bolotniks is ready to strike gold again as he steps into the lion’s den and takes on Joshua Buatsi in a massive fight for the Light-Heavyweight division at Matchroom Fight Camp in Brentwood, Essex this Saturday August 14.

Bolotniks (18-5-1, 8 KOs) has done things the hard way after a less than spectacular start to his career, losing three and drawing one of his first eight fights after turning pro in August 2013.

The Latvian was not deterred by those setbacks and two further defeats and burst into the reckoning for major titles in a big way by winning the MTK Golden Contract tournament at the end of 2020.

The 31-year-old was considered an outsider for the tournament but destroyed the unbeaten Steven Ward inside the opening round of their quarter-final in December 2019 at York Hall, before widely outpointing Hosea Burton in the semi-final in his Riga backyard in September.

That set up a final with Germany’s Serge Michel that ‘The Lion’ dominated and put an exclamation mark on his win with a stoppage at the death, winning the coveted contract and firmly cementing his place as a real threat at 175lbs.

Buatsi has roared to 14-0 as a pro and only two fighters have heard the final bell against the 2016 Olympic bronze medal man, but Bolotniks is full of confidence that he’ll hand a first pro defeat to the Londoner and continue his remarkable journey to World Title honours.

“I’ve wanted this fight for a long time, and I’ve always thought that we would fight so all my training over the last six months has been for this man,” said Bolotniks. “It’s going to be a hard fight and a long fight but I’ve done the 12 rounds before and he hasn’t yet, I think that I can beat him over the full distance but I want it to be a street fight, a boxing match, I want to show everything that I have got so that I can go back to the dressing room afterwards and say ‘yes, we did it’, I want that feeling.

“I’ve had three fights cancelled in 2021, but then boom, here comes the Buatsi fight. So, I am happy now, it’s a massive fight for me and I hope that after I win this fight there will be more this year, but the focus is only on this one.

“Every fighter gets better the more fights that they have, he’s improved but so have I. I only fight for my family, for my country and my coach – and money! But I am not the kind of guy to say that I don’t fight for money, just belts – I need to buy food and to pay for the house, petrol for the car, clothes for me wife – so of course the money is important. But my family believe in me so much and that drives me on so much.

“I only think about Joshua, so I don’t want to think about the future. I am well ranked in the governing bodies so of course I look at the champions and the belts, and my wife likes the WBC belt, she wants me to win that! But we need to do our job on Saturday night and then the future will sort itself out.

“Latvian’s are made for boxing because we are big strong people and we’re proud, so we put it all on the line when we get chances to prove ourselves. I wanted to box because I watched Mairis Briedis on TV and now I am training alongside him, it’s amazing.”

Buatsi vs. Bolotniks tops a huge night of action, Joe Cordina (12-0, 7 KOs) returns in a ten round Lightweight clash with Joshuah Hernandez (10-3, 8 KOs), Portsmouth’s Michael McKinson (20-0, 2 KOs) defends his WBO Welterweight Title against Przemyslaw Runowski (19-1, 5 KOs), Hopey Price (4-0, 1 KO) meets Claudio Grande (5-0, 3 KOs) in a six round Super-Bantamweight contest, Glasgow’s Kash Farooq (15-1, 6 KOs) clashes with Luis Gerardo Castillo (28-2, 18 KOs) for the WBC International Bantamweight Title, the USA’s Raymond Ford (8-0-1, 4 KOs) meets Watford’s Reece Bellotti (14-4, 12 KOs) for the vacant WBA Continental Featherweight Title and Manchester Super-Featherweight Zelfa Barrett (25-1, 15 KOs) joins the card as a late addition.