Last week, Joshua Buatsi signed a new long-term deal with Ben Shalom’s BOXXER following his split from Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing. Now, the 30-year-old has officially announced the opponent, date and venue for his first fight of the new arrangement.
Buatsi reportedly turned down the chance to fight WBA Light-Heavyweight champion, Dmitry Bivol, this year, instead opting to switch promotion entirely. The fighter cited a lack of exposure on DAZN – Matchroom’s exclusive broadcast partner.
Hearn has since admitted that he is disappointed with Buatsi’s decision and felt that ‘JB’ was “fed a load of bull***t” ahead of the move, but still wished him all the best with his new venture.
Now, it has been announced that Buatsi (16-0) will face a fellow undefeated fighter in a headline show on Sky Sports, as he takes on Poland’s Pawel Stepien (18-0-1).
The contest represents a significant step up in class for Stepien, whose greatest victory came against fellow Polish fighter, Marek Matyja – a man recently knocked out by Craig Richards, the opponent that Buatsi beat in his latest outing.
The former British Light-Heavyweight champion was on a ten-fight knockout streak ahead of his clash with Richards, but went the distance for the first time in over four years against his fellow Brit and will be looking to get another stoppage under his belt against Stepien.
Meanwhile, Stepien has registered twelve knockouts in his eighteen wins to date, but holds a strong position in the IBF rankings as the number 6 in the world, eight places above Buatsi.
He was recently scheduled to face Callum Smith in Liverpool, however the local fighter withdrew due to niggling training injuries and will instead now head straight into a title shot against unified champion, Artur Beterbiev.
Buatsi versus Stepien will take place on May 6 at Birmingham’s Genting Arena, with Midlands locals such as Ben Whittaker and Tyler Denny set to feature on the undercard.