Buatsi confronts Yarde to demand summer showdown

Joshua Buatsi confronted Anthony Yarde at the conclusion of his victory over Marko Nikolic as the rival light heavyweights again talked up a domestic showdown.

The 32-year-old Yarde impressed in stopping Serbia’s Nikolic in three rounds at London’s Copper Box Arena, having also dropped him twice in the second, days after speaking of his desire to fight Buatsi next.

Buatsi, 30, had similarly spoken before and after last week’s victory over Dan Azeez of his determination to fight Yarde. Victory over Azeez had earned him the British and Commonwealth titles and made him the mandatory challenger to the WBA title held by Dmitrii Bivol, but if beating Azeez proved him the leading light heavyweight in south London, a fight with Yarde may even determine the finest in the UK.

“I would be at home if I didn’t have interest [in fighting Yarde],” Buatsi said after apologising to him for the perceived “ambush”. “I’m here because I think this should be next. I’m down for it and I’m sure his team feel the same way.

“My answer’s simple and short. I’m ready.” 

“This fight between me and ‘JB’ is 100 times bigger [than Buatsi-Azeez],” Yarde responded.

“Me and him have both got mutual respect but we’re both fighters; we’ve both agreed to get it cracking. We’ve said it behind the scenes.

“We spoke; we always had in our mind we’d fight. We’d get it cracking. He’s a respectful person; he had a victory.

“For me, I’m ready whenever. It’s about making the deal. If me and Joshua Buatsi could fight for a world title that’d be perfect. If not that’s fine.” 

Bivol and his fellow Russian Artur Beterbiev are on course to fight for the undisputed title on June 1. Buatsi and Yarde, therefore, are unlikely to fight for a world title if, as expected, they fight each other next.