Joshua Buatsi Can Learn From Anthony Yarde
By Sina Latif
Joshua Buatsi’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, recently said:
“Yarde hadn’t been matched correctly to give himself the best chance. If he would have had intermediate fights, he would have won. This is what we have to do with Buatsi.”
Hearn was referring to Anthony Yarde’s recent defeat to WBO light-heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev, and the difference in approach when eyeing a future world title shot for Buatsi.
Although Yarde did not do himself any injustice whatsoever in his brave effort against Kovalev, after 18 wins during which he did not have to break a sweat, he suddenly stepped up to elite level and was knocked out, largely due to inexperience.
Buatsi is now 12-0 with 10 KO’s following a good learning fight against a tough opponent in Ryan Ford, knocking out the Canadian, and has won the British light-heavyweight title and WBA International title thus far.
Buatsi also had a great amateur career, winning domestic titles, a European bronze medal and becoming an Olympic bronze medalist at Rio 2016.
There is already a stark contrast in the embryonic stages of Yarde and Buatsi’s careers. Yarde made the jump from C/D class to A*, with just 12 prior amateur fights. Buatsi is gradually making his way up through the ranks, having learning fights along the way on his path to a world title shot.
Buatsi has already established himself as one of the top prospects in boxing, securing a series of eye-catching knockouts.
Destroying a world title challenger in Marco Antonio Periban and overcoming a tough opponent such as Ford who had previously never been stopped, breaking the Canadian’s resistance as the fight progressed before knocking out his opponent in the seventh round, can be great learning experiences for the 26-year-old.
However, a massive advantage for Buatsi not only lies in the experience he has gained in the ring, but the occasions he has already found himself partaking in. He has boxed at major venues including Madison Square Garden and Principality Stadium.
For a fighter with 12 professional fights, to have already experienced boxing in such venues, including the ‘Mecca of boxing’, can only be inexplicably beneficial for a man who is already becoming accustomed to big-time boxing.
Such experiences mean that when the time comes for Buatsi to fight for a title on the big stage, he will not be like a rabbit in the headlights. Neither the opponent or occasion would faze him.
The Croydon light-heavyweight has a good team around him and has a poise which is very rare for boxers with such lack of experience to possess. He very rarely wastes a punch.
The fact that they intend to take their time with Buatsi in order for him to perfect his already nice combination of power, speed and balance, means that when the time comes, a world title may well be arriving in Croydon.
For many fighters with potential over the years, talent alone was not enough. The right attitude is also key. In an interview with Boxing Social prior to the Ford clash, when questioned regarding the reason as to why he will not get a haircut or shave his beard for weeks leading up to a fight, Buatsi’s reasoning was as follows:
“It’s quite simple in the sense that for the next 8 to 9 to 10 weeks I shouldn’t have any events or anything that’s gonna be prioritised in front of boxing. So for me, it’s like I don’t have to look presentable going anywhere, because all I’m doing is home, gym, home, gym, and sleeping.”
When a fighter has both talent and the right attitude, that’s the recipe for something special.
Yarde can bounce back from the Kovalev fight and achieve great things in his career. With the correct adjustments, there can be no doubt about that.
Buatsi can learn from his British rivals’ fight, although his career is already set to be guided in such a way, so that when the time comes, his talent can shine bright.