Joshua Buatsi has told William Hill that he would wipe out Sergey Kovalev should he be given the opportunity to face the former world light heavyweight champion.
Buatsi successfully defended his WBA international light heavyweight title against Marko Calic on Sunday night and feels he is good enough to take on ex-multiple world champion Kovalev, who saw off British boxer Anthony Yarde last year.
“Sitting here now, feeling good to fight, I’ll tell you straight: I would have taken him out,” Buatsi told William Hill. “But that’s me sitting here saying it, it would be almost different in the moment. But sitting here now, I’ll say I would have handled it.
“But I commend Kovalev for enduring what he went through and then Yarde for stepping up and almost getting it done [last year].”
Buatsi added: “Yarde was very, very unlucky. He almost got it right. I watched that fight, I even sent him a message saying: ‘Unlucky bro, you just fell short.’ So very, very unlucky, and I rate him for that. It didn’t go in his favour but he took the chance so I have to rate that.”
An all-British light heavyweight fight between Buatsi and Yarde has been touted for next year, though Buatsi is not entirely convinced it will go ahead due to the pair being represented by different promoters.
“It’s hard to say – I’m with Eddie [Hearn], he’s with Frank [Warren]. I think that’s the main elephant in the room,” Buatsi said. “It’s obvious – different promoters, different broadcasters – so will they merge? Would Sky let me box on BT, would BT let him box on Sky? Unless we end up with the same promoters or someone has a world title or someone is a mandatory, that’s the only way I can see it happening.
“But next year, I’m not sure. But at times like this, things change quick – last-minute deals are being made, things that you wouldn’t expect to happen are happening, and people with different promoters have fought before. But would it happen next year? It’s hard to say.”
Another all-British fight that could take place next year is Anthony Joshua vs Tyson Fury – and while Buatsi says it would be a hard contest to call, he hailed Fury for “the comeback of all time” following his defeat of Deontay Wilder for the WBC world heavyweight title earlier this year.
“If you’re looking at who has the most belts, Joshua does. If you’re looking at the comeback of all time, it has to be what Fury did against Wilder,” Buatsi said. “Wilder was knocking out everyone, and Fury returned and went straight into the deep end. You can’t just ignore that or talk past it.
“And with Joshua, back-to-back championship fights constantly, beating everyone in front of him. He had one slip-up [against Andy Ruiz Jr.] and corrected it, beat him, so it’s like he hasn’t put a foot wrong. And he has four of the five belts. So, it’s going to be whoever shows up on the night… It might come down to who wants it more.
“Technically they are both good, they can both punch. Fury has proved that he can actually punch. He’s got the boxing IQ – people may say Joshua doesn’t have that, but he proved against Ruiz that rather than going forward and trying to knock someone out, he can go on the back foot and box in and out. He showed that. Whoever gets the tactics right, it’s hard to say as the pressure is going to be on – everything is going to be at stake. It’ll be who gets it right on the night.”