by Shaun Brown
Since his defeat to Frank Buglioni in December 2016, it seemed that Hosea Burton (21-1, 10 KOs) was hell bent on avenging the only loss of his professional career.
Buglioni defeated Burton to take the latter's British light heavyweight title with a final round stoppage in what was easily a domestic fight of the year contender.
Buglioni went on to defend the title against Ricky Summers and Craig Richards, before Burton's gym-mate Callum Johnson took the champion apart in the first round of their fight back in March.
Burton's career is in need of a kickstart with his last four fights coming in the shape of a six rounder and three eight rounders. The third of which takes place this Saturday night in Newcastle against Saidou Sall (10-8-2, 4 KOs), as part of a card headlined by rising stars Josh Kelly and Lewis Ritson, live on Sky Sports.
"I've waited the best part of 18 months to fight Frank Buglioni. I thought I was always going to get the rematch. I thought the (British) Boxing Board was going to make it mandatory but they never did. Now he [Buglioni] has been beat up off Callum I don't really want to fight him now, there's no point fighting him. I want to move on to bigger things", Burton told Boxing Scene recently.
Trained by Joe Gallagher, Burton's two biggest fights to date have come against Miles Shinkwin - the night Burton won the vacant British title - and, of course, Buglioni. That's two in 22. A crying shame for a talent like Burton's, but over the last 18 months he understands why those of a higher class have not wanted to fight him.
"I'm a high risk for no reward at the moment," he said.
"I've just got to get a belt. I will get a belt before this year's over and people will want to fight me, because they'll want to test themselves against someone who has a belt. At the minute I can understand why people don't want to fight me because, to be honest, I lost two rounds in the fight against Frank Buglioni. I lost the 11th when I got pushed over and I lost the 12th, which I was winning and with a minute to go I got caught with a shot I shouldn't have got caught with. Fair play to him he done what he had to do and I got stopped, but anybody watching that fight would rather fight Frank Buglioni than fight me."
Their promoter Eddie Hearn told Boxing Scene on May 30 that a Buglioni-Burton rematch is a great fight and one which both need to take.
"I really like the Burton-Buglioni rematch, and potentially make that for Callum Johnson's Commonwealth title. That's a great fight. I think a lot of people would like to see that fight, and I think both guys are in a position where they need to take that fight really."
Johnson, after nearly 18 months out of boxing, came back to blow away Buglioni in a fight where fireworks were expected, but perhaps not to go off and go out quite as quick as they did. Buglioni took the defeat admirably and will return. For Johnson the sky is the limit. He now seems likely to face IBF world champion Artur Beterbiev after being the only one in the organisation's top 10 that would seemingly take the fight!
'Scene asked Burton if he expected Johnson to do the demolition job on Buglioni that was as much stunning as it was shocking.
"Yes. 100%. Callum Johnson is not for little boys to play with," he began.
"He's very strong, he's very fast, he's just a bit of a beast and Frank's way too easy to catch. You can't mess around with Callum's power."
Which then prompted the question 'Does Callum Johnson have a shot against Artur Beterbiev?'
"No matter who Callum fights he's got a very good chance against. Because you know what? He's got dynamite in both hands. He's got a very good boxing brain. You can't rule Callum Johnson out against anybody."
Eighteen months of frustration for Johnson and Burton then. The former shook off the rust, if you want to call it that, spectacularly and now the only way is up. For the latter it's all about sitting, waiting on that call from his promoter to say a title opportunity has come up.
The period of treading water has been a frustrating one for Burton. Feeling low after the loss to Buglioni he picked himself up by watching the fight back and realised that he had nothing to be down about.
"I won that fight bar the last round. I never had a mark on me. I was just fatigued," said Burton.
"For that fight I was sparring just six rounds. I thought I was gonna chin him in the first four. That's how I prepared for that fight. It never went that way. It nearly went that way. I had him rocking a fair few times. He had a face like a butcher's block at the end of the fight. What kept me motivated was never wanting to get beat ever again. Since then I got a strength and conditioning coach, and a nutritionist. That fight could have been a blessing in disguise."
Shaun Brown covers British boxing for Boxing Scene. Contact him on Twitter @sbrown2pt0