Joshua Buatsi Offers His Side on Bivol Situation

If I had one fighter circled as a star the 2016 Rio Olympic Games it would have been Joshua Buatsi. Physical gifts, an Olympic medal, God given athletic traits. Buatsi seemingly had it all, yet now in 2023, somehow seven years later, Buatsi has left his original promoter has now moved over to Boxxer on Sky Sports. 

One of the key topics which has been laid out for the media to read has been a view of a rumored million dollar offer for Buatsi to fight world champion Dmitry Bivol in the middle east. ProBox TV recently visited Buatsi in camp to get his thoughts on this matter first hand during his final days training California prior to heading back to London for his May 6th bout against Pawel Stepien.

Buatsi Addresses Rumored Million Dollar Offer

With [the Dmitry Bivol situation] again, the narrative that came out was that [Buatsi] turned down 1.5 million,” reflected Buatsi to ProBox TV on a narrative that has been put forth to the media about his decision to leave DAZN, his former promoter Matchroom Boxing, which seemingly cost him a fight at the WBA light heavyweight champion, Dmitry Bivol. “Long story short, I didn't even get approved to fight Bivol the WBA had to [mandate the fight] and they didn’t, and [Gilberto] Ramirez so he got [mandated], he got the green light to take that fight.”

The big danger in these stories is often us, the reader. It is easy to look at our job, which is more than likely not something we love. We do it for the money, and future finical freedoms, when you hear of a boxer turning down life-changing money against a world champion - often it is hard to find sympathy or compassion. Yet, in boxing not every thing is what it seems. Eddie Hearn last month spoke on the situation to IFL.TV during a media event.

Joshua Buatsi's Slower Path to Success as a Pro

“If Joshua Buatsi just wants to be a UK fighter and doesn't want any exposure worldwide and doesn't want to fight Dmitry Bivol and those big fights, I think it's a good move for him,” stated Eddie Hearn, the CEO and former promoter of Buatsi to IFL.TV last month about Buatsi going to Boxxer and Sky Sports. “He can fight Dan Azeez he can have regular dates in Birmingham and you know, these other places, but we just got bigger ambitions. You know, I feel like Joshua Buatsi, he's a very talented fighter. We didn't quite ever get the momentum with activity that I wanted, because it's another story, but when he won the British [title] when he won the European [title] when he beat [Richard Bolotniks], and when he beat Richards, and he got to number one in the world. We managed to come up with a deal for him to fight. [The WBA light heavyweight world champion] Dmitry Bivol in the Middle East on neutral ground for not just a million pounds 1.25 million his argument that it comes down I'll address it…That was his last fight with us on the deal…Now, do you think that anyone in their right mind is going to invest in a career of a fighter spend all that money getting to number one in the world pay him an absolute fortune to fight Dimitry Bivol and then not extended [his contract]? That's it's the most natural industry standard procedure that is out there. And by the way, he would have had to have a rematch clause with Dmitry Bivol so we had to extend that do anyway.”

The usually very cordial Hearn was a bit more animated as it seems he didn’t take kindly to the decision Buatsi and his team made. Buatsi has moved at a bit slower as a professional than most hoped. With sixteen pro fights in six years, Buatsi isn’t moving fast or slow, but a tad behind schedule in terms of the pedigree he has. The COVID-19 pandemic certainly didn't help as he only fought four times since the world shut down. When you hear Buatsi’s side of the story - he wasn’t guaranteed to land the Bivol fight as the hadn’t been mandated.

“From my side, there were other things that I said. If I say yes to it comes with these other points that I had to consider,” stated Buatsi in exclusive interview prior to him leaving back to London from his Hayward, California training camp. “So the way it's come out and the way it's been said, if you listen carefully, or if the ins and outs, you're going to think that he turned down Bivol for over a million ‘who would do that or you're gonna think oh, he's ducking Bivol.”

Buatsi, a man who looks up to the great Joe Frazier, each word he says he thinks about deeply. Buatsi is very sincere, each answer he gives - he reflects. After a bit of time, Buatsi simply summed up the following.

“I said previously in other interviews [there were] other points to consider,” said Buatsi. “I just thought for myself, it wasn't beneficial.”

Buatsi's Thoughts on Fighting Beterbiev and Bivol

As for the unified world champion, Artur Beterbiev, who holds the WBO, WBC and IBF and the one we are clamoring to see fight Dmitry Bivol. Buatsi is not sure if they will ever met - as he sees Beterbiev, who is nearing his forties as a prize fighter looking to get the most money possible for all of his achievements.

“I think [Beterbiev] is 37 [years-old] and has [three] of the belts,” stated Buatsi. “Looking from the outside, I would think [Beterbiev] is trying to make [the biggest fights, most lucrative fights]. That’s what I would think…The belt he has got I am [ranked highly in each]…except the IBF that has me down at some random number. Do I think we will cross paths? I don’t know."

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