Joshua Buatsi defeats Craig Richards in all-British classic scrap as Eddie Hearn confirms title shot vs Dmitry Bivol awaits


Joshua Buatsi emerged victorious in a fantastic domestic contest with Craig Richards via unanimous decision.

Richards may have lost on the night, but his stock will only rise with this performance. In a back and forth affair, Buatsi took home a 116-112, 115-113, 115-113 victory.

Buatsi secured a deserved victory

Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing

Buatsi secured a deserved victory

Buatsi was looking to set the pace early and despite the Virgil Hunter trained defensive instincts, the Olympic medallist marched forward and looked to set up his looping right-cross.

Hunter wanted Buatsi behind the jab to set up his openings, but Buatsi was standing in front of Richards and that seemed to throw the former world title challenger off slightly.

Buatsi had a flurry at the end of the first round that sent Richards back into the ropes and one could argue they kept him up. Despite rushed pressure, Buatsi could not get a finish.

Richards looked to establish his left jab at the beginning of the second round, but Buatsi exploded with a right counter and left uppercut to move his opponent.

Buatsi’s jab was his best weapon on the night.

Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing

Buatsi’s jab was his best weapon on the night.

A right uppercut from Richards broke Buatsi’s guard, but Buatsi answered back with a hook immediately. After a fairly shaky start, Richards began growing into the contest.

A straight one-two gave Richards his best moment of the fight so far at the end of the third round as his right hand was finding ways to get through Buatsi’s guard.

Buatsi showed rare signs of losing his cool at the end of the fourth round as both men were swinging as the bell rang to end the round and proceeded to stare each other down before heading back to their stools.

In round five, Buatsi had Richards in trouble again following great worth off his jab. However, after emptying the gas tank, Buatsi had to catch his breath and defend, which allowed RIchards to land a sweet left uppercut.

Richards played his part in an entertaining back and forth contest

Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing

Richards played his part in an entertaining back and forth contest

Another flurry in the sixth, which saw the jab made room for a right uppercut from Buatsi, put the pressure on Richards again but it has to be said, the Crystal Palace man displayed plenty of heart and a strong chin in the face of Buatsi’s onslaught.

Things really opened up at the end of the eighth round as Richards uncorked a right uppercut once again that had Buatsi hurt and finally, Richards sustained the pressure.

However, when Richards went looking for the kill, Buatsi unleashed some hooks in the corner that nearly dropped Richards too. It was truly anyone’s fight at this stage with a knockout seemingly looming one way or another.

In the tenth, after a few rounds where Richards started to outwork Buatsi, the latter hurt Richards badly with a flurry of punches that saw an overhand right do the bulk of the damage just seconds after Buatsi had his mouth guard knocked out.

It was all respect at the end of the fight

Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing

It was all respect at the end of the fight

Richards was the busier, more desperate fighter on the home straight probably knowing that he would need a stoppage or at least a knockdown to give himself a chance of victory, but Buatsi was able to evade his worst attacks.

Both men embraced at the sound of the final bell with plenty of respect in a hug that directly preceded wild swings to see out a fantastic domestic contest.

Buatsi and Eddie Hearn were firm in their desire for a world title shot next and Dmitry Bivol will be the target. A lot depends on whether Canelo Alvarez takes the Bivol fight next or Gennady Golovkin.

Buatsi and Hearn were in agreement – a world title is next

Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing

Buatsi and Hearn were in agreement – a world title is next





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