Joshua Buatsi is thankful that Marko Calic tested him in his last fight.
Croatia’s Calic pushed Buatsi before the unbeaten Brit stopped him during the seventh round of their scheduled 12-round light heavyweight bout October 4 at Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes, England. Buatsi (13-0, 11 KOs) had only boxed into the seventh round once before he encountered Calic (11-1, 6 KOs), whose trainer threw in the towel after he got up from a knockdown during the seventh round.
London’s Buatsi boxed the final three-plus rounds of that fight with severe swelling beneath the 2016 Olympic bronze medalist’s left eye.
That experience has made the 28-year-old Buatsi more confident entering his fight against undefeated Daniel Blenda Dos Santos on Saturday night at AO Arena in Manchester. Sky Sports will televise Buatsi-Dos Santos as its main event Saturday night in the United Kingdom and Ireland (10 p.m. BST).
“Before a fight you say, ‘I can dig deep. I can do this. I can do that,’ ” Buatsi said during a conference call Tuesday. “But at that point, I hadn’t been tested yet, or I didn’t need to show it. So, yeah, it was quite interesting for it to be done in that fight. And even Calic’s record, I think him being undefeated, he hadn’t boxed anyone well known. And we saw it ended up actually being a tough fight.
“So, same with this guy. He hasn’t boxed anyone that we know, but I’m not going in there thinking, ‘Yeah, this is just gonna be a warmup fight or a walk in the park.’ Nah. Someone coming to protect their undefeated record is someone that’s dangerous and someone that’s hungry. So, yeah, the Calic fight happening like that was good. Like I said, it’s in the bank now and I know if I have to show that side of myself, I can show it.”
Dos Santos (15-0, 8 KOs) has built his perfect record against a very low level of opposition in his home country of France. The unproven light heavyweight’s past six opponents have had losing records and he has faced just three opponents with winning records.
The 30-year-old Frenchman’s padded record has led most oddsmakers to install Buatsi as a 100-1 favorite.
Buatsi-Dos Santos was elevated to main event status last week, when it was revealed Terri Harper suffered a hand injury that caused her to withdraw from her 130-pound women’s title unification fight against Hyun Mi Choi.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.