Joshua Buatsi can go all the way – but he has to make some adjustments
Sunday can’t come soon enough for Joshua Buatsi. Illness and Covid have kept him out of the ring for more than a year. Tough for a supernova in a hurry.
Buatsi takes on unbeaten Croat Marko Calic, who fought at heavyweight in the amateurs.
I’m always a little concerned when a guy drops down from 200 pounds, especially when they stand 6ft 3ins.
Weight management is arguably the most important issue in boxing. You have to be able to take a punch and hit with authority.
It’s about power to weight ratio and the capacity to punch from the first bell to last. For someone to campaign at 90 kilos then drop to 81k is a lot of weight to shift.
This could be about nothing but also a lot. Calic is clearly gambling on bringing heavyweight power to the light heavyweight division. After six KOs in 11 wins the jury is out.
We have seen quite a bit of Buatsi in our gym. He can punch with either hand and has the rock solid chin that comes as standard with boxers born in Ghana.
But he needs to make small adjustments in style and technique as he progresses. There are times when he is too open.
Buatsi is so anxious to blow guys out he can be caught. I was the same. And the higher up the food chain you go guys make you miss and then pay.
The opportunity to strike shrinks to a half-second window and you have to be in position to capitalise.
Buatsi’s strengths and flaws were apparent against the experienced Marco Periban in June last year. He got the job done in four but not without reddening about the chops where he was caught.
Not everybody can make the transition to the next level. But you always go with pedigree. And the pedigree is with Olympic bronze medallist Buatsi.
He can switch your lights out with either hand. He is very exciting and very bright. And he thinks about the game and the world a lot.
He is perhaps half a dozen fights from that world title shot. This is a good test against an unbeaten fighter with an elite amateur background.
Calic is looking to take a leap on the back of a superstar-in-the-making. He has not come here to lose and that is just the kind of contest Buatsi needs to reach the next level.
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