Who will Joshua Buatsi fight next? Dmitry Bivol and Anthony Yarde among boxer’s potential opponents
Joshua Buatsi was victorious on Saturday night against Craig Richards after 12 rounds of drama in London, but who should the Croydon boxer fight next?
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Buatsi won by a unanimous decision, extending his record to 16-0. The bout was a WBA title eliminator for the belt Dmitry Bivol currently holds. An enthralling fight from start to finish, capturing perfectly how entertaining domestic matchups really can be.
Could a shot at the WBA light-heavyweight title await Buatsi next or could he be in line for another all-British showdown.
Dmitry Bivol: 20-0-0
The Russian boxer was elevated to full WBA world champion in 2017 and he has successfully defended his belt nine times.
Bivol defeated current WBO champion Joe Smith Jr in 2019 by a unanimous decision. His most recent victory sent shockwaves through the boxing world, comfortably beating pound for pound king Canelo Alvarez earlier this month.
Bivol would provide a huge test for Buatsi, showing his pedigree last time out against Canelo. Eddie Hearn and Buatsi confirmed their desire to put Buatsi in with Bivol if the Canelo rematch does not happen next.
The fighter who is now trained by Virgil Hunter would need to put on a career best performance to give himself a chance of dethroning the unbeaten Russian. It is looking more likely that Canelo with fight Gennady Golovkin for a third time in September, making this matchup a real possibility.
Anthony Yarde 22-2-0
Born in Hackney, Yarde is known for his ferocious punching ability. A fight between the two Brits has been demanded by boxing fans since both of their debuts.
The former world title challenger put a fantastic display on last time out when he dismantled Lyndon Arthur in their highly anticipated rematch. The first fight between the pair was a close fight with Arthur winning by split decision.
Yarde’s first professional loss came against Sergey Kovalev in 2019, when he put up a valiant effort against the WBO champion out in Russia.
Eddie Hearn put in an offer to Yarde’s promoter Frank Warren a couple of months ago which was declined. It looks like Yarde will wait for the winner of Smith Jr and Artur Beterbiev.
A clash between the two Londoners would be a guaranteed all-out war and it would be a real shame if the British public were starved of this fight.
Maxim Vlasov 46-4-0
The 35-year-old has twice challenged for the World title, once at cruiserweight and more recently at light-heavyweight. In April of 2021 he lost by majority decision to Smith Jr, many seeing the decision as contentious.
The Russian was scheduled to fight Buatsi in December of last year, but the Brit had to pull out of the bout due to a hand injury.
Vlasov would provide a stern test for Buatsi and would be a great next step for the 2016 Olympic Champion before a world title shot.
Callum Smith: 28-1-0
Smith was the super-middleweight WBA and Ring Magazine champion after he defeated George Groves in the final of the World Boxing Super Series final in 2018. The Liverpudlian moved up to light-heavyweight after he lost his title after being outclassed by Canelo in December 2020.
His one and only fight at 175 pounds was against Lenin Castillo on the undercard of Anthony Joshua versus Oleksandr Usyk. Smith scored a stunning knockout in the second round, putting all the champions on alert.
It seems this weight will suit Smith perfectly and he has the ability to beat anyone in the division with his brutal punching power. A fight between him and Mathieu Bauderlique has been rumoured next as a WBC world title eliminator.
A contest between Buatsi and Smith is unlikely to be next because Buatsi has only just fought. It would be a huge affair between these two boxers and fighting at Anfield or a sold-out 02 is a real possibility.
This fight is more likely to occur next year after both men challenge the current champions.