Team GB Olympic medallist Joshua Buatsi has signed a promotional deal with Matchroom Boxing and will make his professional debut at The O2 in London on July 1, live on Sky Sports.
Buatsi picked up bronze in Rio last summer in the Light Heavyweight division and has joined Brazil teammates Lawrence Okolie, Joe Cordina, Josh Kelly and Anthony Fowler in teaming up with Hearn. The Croydon ace, who also picked up bronze in the 2015 European Championships, will be managed by Anthony Joshua’s management team AJ Boxing.
The 24 year old went back to St. Mary’s University after returning from Rio to complete his degree in Business Management and Sports Science, and now turns his attentions to the paid ranks and cannot wait to get his pro journey underway.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Buatsi. “I got the medal ten months ago but I didn’t just disappear. After coming back from Rio I needed to finish my degree and the get back into the gym. I’ve been in the gym for a few months now, my head is clear, I know what is next. I’ve made the right decision to team up with Eddie Hearn, Matchroom Boxing and Sky Sports and I’m so excited for the journey.
“My Mum and Dad wanted me to finish my education, I came back from Rio and had a year left, I didn’t want to turn my back on university. Boxing has always been my plan A and university wasn’t a plan, it was something that I was able to do while boxing – but everything about me is boxing.
“It seems a long time ago that I was an amateur. This is the next stage and there’s competition out there, everyone wants to be number one, we’re all hungry. The pro game is so different from the amateurs, you have to entertain, and it’s not a bed of roses. It’s a brutal sport but I’ve prepared myself physically and mentally for it.
“It’s more of a fight in the pros. Two men fighting with smaller gloves and I think it will suit me, let your hands go, keep your hands up and don’t blink. I know I only have to concentrate on one guy in the pros, not the guy the following day – six rounds to get rid of someone and I know that I will get to them in that time.
“There’s a lot for me to learn but I’m eager and hungry to do just that. I feel I have to prove myself and go and grab everything with both hands, that’s my mentality so let the show begin.”
Hearn plans to box Buatsi all over Britain with eight fights pencilled in for his first year as a pro, and the promoter was delighted to add Buatsi to his stacked roster of Britain’s biggest boxing talents.
“I’m delighted to be promoting Joshua,” said Hearn. “Three and a half years ago we were in the same room on the start of Anthony Joshua’s journey and I feel that we’re at the start of the road for another outstanding talent in Joshua Buatsi. Everyone in boxing knows the talent and ability he has and now it’s time to show that to a wider audience.”
Buatsi’s debut is part of a big night of boxing at The O2, topped by Frank Buglioni defending his British Light-Heavyweight title against Ricky Summers.
A packed bill includes Ted Cheeseman challenging Matthew Ryan for the English Super-Welterweight title in an eliminator for the British title, Reece Bellotti looks to build on his impressive British Featherweight title eliminator win over Dai Davies in March, Team GB Rio Olympian Lawrence Okolie on the hunt for a fourth straight first round KO in the paid ranks and features on the bill with his potential Cruiserweight local rival Isaac Chamberlain.
Conor Benn makes a welcome return from injury and there’s action for Southern Area Super-Middleweight champion Craig ‘Spider’ Richards, Super-Middleweight Danny Dignum and Light-Heavyweight Jake Ball.
Tickets are on sale now priced £40 – £100 via www.theo2.co.uk. £150 VIP tickets are available exclusively from www.matchroomboxing.com