Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions announced on Thursday that they have won the purse bids for a fight between Callum Johnson and Joshua Buatsi for the vacant European light-heavyweight title.
The European Boxing Union mandated the clash between the two Brits after the title was relinquished by France’s Mathieu Bauderlique ahead of his world title eliminator against Callum Smith on August 20th in Saudi Arabia. Johnson won a majority decision versus Server Emurlaev in October last year in his previous outing, while Buatsi edged out domestic rival Craig Richards over twelve rounds in May.
While a fight between the pair would no doubt wet the appetite of British fight fans, the likelihood of the bout taking place is slim, with Buatsi’s promoter Eddie Hearn revealing shortly after the announcement that Matchroom have other plans for the twenty-nine-year-old. Despite a glittering amateur career which saw him win Olympic bronze in Rio 2016, Buatsi has had a stuttering professional career so far, with his only major title being the British he secured with a third-round knockout of Liam Conroy in 2019. The British light-heavyweight scene is on fire right now and there’s a strong desire among fans to see the wealth of domestic talent at 175-pounds face-off while the puzzle sorts itself out at world level.
The WBA rejected a request from champion Dmitry Bivol to make a voluntary defence against Buatsi, and instead ordered the Russian to defend his strap versus Gilberto Ramirez respectively. “The WBA Championships Committee ratified the mandatory fight between Dmitri Bivol and his mandatory challenger Gilberto Ramirez“, read the tweet from the WBA’s official Twitter account. “After receiving a request for special permission to fight Joshua Buatsi from the champion and after an extensive study of the same, the WBA denied such permission, so Bivol and Ramirez will have until August 10 (as originally planned) to reach an agreement or the fight will go to purse bid“.
With any world title shot currently off the table for the near future, surely the best move for Buatsi’s development would be a fight against fellow Brit Johnson who would surely surmount to a step-up in opposition compared to those faced so far, also providing an opportunity to pickup another major title in the process.