Inspirational Ward adds fuel to Buatsi’s fire

Very few fighters have as much credibility as Andre Ward

Joshua Buatsi is training at the same gym Ward did for his legendary run, ahead of his fight with Dan Azeez on February 3. 

Buatsi has left home. Now he is in the Bay Area, essentially Silicon Valley, another famous face amongst the rich and overworked of the region. Days repeat themselves, but the goal remains the same – become the best fighter he can be. Yet, one afternoon changed all of that when the modern legend Andre Ward visited the gym.

“He came by the gym two days ago,” said Buatsi. “Nothing much to say, other than that it was inspirational. He is one of the greatest boxers to ever do it, and to have him in the gym while I train added fuel to the fire.”

Buatsi kept details brief, out of respect for Ward’s privacy and not to give much away about his camp. His fight against Azeez is a good British rivalry and one plenty of fight fans in the UK are excited about. 

“He [Ward] had talked to one of my coaches about a recent video posted on YouTube, ‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard sparring,” furthered Buatsi. “I had no idea he would actually stop by and visit.”

Buatsi is one of the most exciting fighters from the 2016 Olympics from any country but his development has been slow. Now in his seventh year as a pro, he has yet to record 20 fights. His bout with Azeez is his most significant to date. Buatsi has heard the criticism but doesn’t acknowledge it. He doesn’t see this as a make-or-break year, but rather as an opportunity to show the world who he believes he is. Buatsi simply reflected that seeing Ward stopping by the gym gave him extra motivation for what he was doing. 

“I left home to feed home,” Buatsi explained. “I am uncomfortable a lot of times in America, though I like being here for the peace of mind. Seeing an all-time great enter while I trained for this fight gave me extra motivation, not that I needed it.”