Joshua Buatsi may have lost out on a world title shot but a consolation prize appears to be heading his way.
The 29-year-old had been offered a fight by his promoter Eddie Hearn against WBA Light Heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol. However, the governing body have ordered their top 175lbs fighter to face mandatory challenger Gilberto Ramirez.
As one door closes another one has opened for Buatsi according to ESPN Boxing reporter Mike Coppinger. He revealed last night that the IBF have ordered a title eliminator between the unbeaten Brit and veteran former champion Jean Pascal.
“I look forward to making the fight happen with Eddie Hearn, he’s already been informed of our interest.”
“Joshua Buatsi is a talented young contender on the rise and a fight vs Jean Pascal can’t be anything but action packed.”
“If Buatsi wants to try to level up who better for him to challenge than the biggest name with the best résumé in the division.”
The IBF on Friday ordered a Joshua Buatsi-Jean Pascal light heavyweight title eliminator, Pascal's advisor, Greg Leon, told ESPN.
"I look forward to making the fight happen with Eddie Hearn, he's already been informed of our interest," Leon said. https://t.co/gDSCNK5cqe
— Mike Coppinger (@MikeCoppinger) July 22, 2022
In the current IBF Light Heavyweight rankings Buatsi is the highest rated contender at number three with the top two slots vacant.
Pascal is at six with Ramirez (Bivol’s mandatory) and Anthony Yarde (scheduled to fight WBC, IBF and WBO champion Artur Beterbiev in October) above him.
Buatsi has been on a steady path to a world title shot and last time out beat domestic rival Craig Richards in a thoroughly entertaining affair. Their encounter in May also doubled up as a WBA eliminator.
Pascal, who celebrates his 40th birthday in October, is a former WBC and WBA (Regular) Light Heavyweight champion.
Should an eliminator against Buatsi be made, and likely be held in the UK, it would see the Haitian-born Canadian fight on British shores for the second time in his career.
Fight fans will remember his first visit, a 2008 action-packed Fight of the Year contender against Carl Froch for the WBC Super Middleweight title.
‘The Cobra’ delighted his home fans taking home the title but Pascal gained many new admirers along the way.
In a career of ups and downs Pascal has also shared the ring with Chad Dawson, Bernard Hopkins (twice), Lucian Bute, Sergey Kovalev (twice), Eleider Alvarez, Dmitry Bivol, Marcus Browne and Badou Jack.
Pascal had been scheduled to fight Jack again in June 2021 after defeating him in 2019. The rematch was cancelled when Pascal tested positive for three banned substances.
The former champion then failed another test. He was subsequently stripped of his WBA belt and given a ban for six months
After nearly two and a half years out of the ring Pascal returned to the winning circle in May with a points win over then IBF number one contender Fanlong Meng.