With Canelo Alvarez choosing a trilogy with GGG for his September 17 fight over a Dmitry Bivol rematch, Joshua Buatsi has a golden opportunity at a voluntary world title shot against the WBA Light Heavyweight Champion Bivol.
Alvarez is planning a Bivol rematch in May 2023, Beterbeiv and Smith clash for 3 belts later this month and Mexico’s Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez is the official challenger, so it’s quite evident that now is the time for Croydon’s Joshua Buatsi or he may end up waiting till 2024.
Even if Buatsi is unsuccessful on the first attempt, by 2024 – when he could next feasibly challenge for a title, he may have done enough to garner a second opportunity at the belt. If this is indeed the case then there is a strong argument that he should seize the opportunity now and ‘dare to be great’.
Is Joshua Buatsi Ready?
Buatsi is a lot more ready than Anthony Yarde was when he fought Kovalev and is really only one step up away from the champions anyway. The timing might not be perfect but it rarely ever is, if Joshua Buatsi is good enough to beat Bivol, he is good enough now.
Buatsi has now had 3 outings with Virgil Hunter and stepped up and beaten a top 20 and 15 light heavyweight in Ricard Bolotniks and Craig Richards as well as seven tough rounds with highly rated amateur Marko Calic before teaming up with Hunter.
Joshua Buatsi has come through adversity and done 23 hard rounds in his last two fights, Trainer Virgil Hunter wants him to have one more fight but Promoter Eddie Hearn and Joshua Buatsi himself believe they are ready now.
Joshua Buatsi’s 258 Management posted last week ‘I want the world title next. We’ve made it very clear’. He also spoke to Boxing Social last week about a Dmitry Bivol fight saying ‘For me, I’ve said I’m Ready. I’ll be in there to win, if I’m in that ring, it means I’m ready’.
Where Else Could Dmitry Bivol Go?
They must act quickly, as Ramirez is the official challenger – a mandatory that could be called any minute, so Hearn must quickly make this fight and request a voluntary with WBA #2 Buatsi that is likely to be granted.
However, Bivol has ambitions to become undisputed and there are rumours that both Beterbiev and Smith Jr are out of contract after their unification and this is easily the most favourable avenue for Bivol if a 4-belt undisputed fight can be made. In the way of that is WBO mandatory Anthony Yarde who has already waited for the Beterbiev Smith unification and will not wait again.
A third option is another Matchroom British Light Heavyweight in Callum Smith who looked sensational last time out against Lenin Castillo and is planning a fight with a top 10 light heavyweight in July. He is arguably a tougher challenge for Bivol than at least Buatsi if not also Zurdo and still remains an option. Smith is WBC #1 and also has that route should he not get a Bivol fight, it seems like Hearn would prefer Dmitry Bivol vs Joshua Buatsi.
In the extremely likely case that Bivol’s next fight is not undisputed he will have three possible challengers. Should the WBA not call Zurdo in the near future, it is likely that Bivol, who has boxed the last few years with Matchroom Boxing, goes for one of either Joshua Buatsi or Callum Smith in the UK due to the Matchroom allegiance. With Callum Smith boxing in potentially July/August, Buatsi will be ready earlier and a deal can be made earlier.