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Joshua Buatsi v Pawel Stepien: Buatsi eyes statement victory as he chases world title shot

The exciting light-heavyweight contender Joshua Buatsi is gearing up for his first fight under the BOXXER banner against Pawel Stepien this weekend with only one thing on his mind – victory!

The 30-year-old knows everything is on the line in Birmingham on Saturday night – including his mandatory position with the WBA – as he makes his long-awaited return to SKY against a tough and durable Polish opponent (15/2). 

Victory over Stepien would cement his position at the top of the WBA rankings and edge him closer to a money-spinning mega fight with light-heavyweight strap holder Dimitry Bivol. 

However, defeat would leave his title ambitions in tatters and further stoke the fire amongst those who have criticised his decision to leave Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom stable; a move that saw him sacrifice a guaranteed title opportunity.

“I couldn’t care less what people say – why would I care?” the 1/16 favourite told bet365 and Boxing News during fight week. 

“Whoever they are, they are living their life right now and I am living my life here. “I won’t waste energy thinking about it (what they say). I am that nonchalant about it. I am sure other people have things in their lives to think about, and that’s the same as me. 

“The only aim for me is to produce a banging performance on Saturday night where people will be like, ‘do you know what, that was some performance by Buatsi’. 

“I want to win, of course I want to win, but there is a way that I want to win. The foundation though is to simply get the win, and that is what I am thinking about.”

With all four 175-pound straps tied up by Bivol and Artur Beterbiev, Buatsi understands that he will have to bide his time for a first shot at a world title, regardless of whether he retains his WBA number one spot this weekend. 

“If the titles are tied up which they seem to be right now then I will wait. I don’t know when Bivol is fighting but Beterbiev is fighting Callum Smith, so all I can do is keep winning. 

“I have to stay active, keep taking the fights that I need to take to ensure that when the opportunity does present itself then I am ready to step in.” 

That could crack the door ajar for a mouth-watering all-British showdown between Buatsi and fellow unbeaten star Dan Azeez – another fighter who falls under Ben Shalom’s BOXXER banner. 

“I think the narrative that was put out there was that I simply move to BOXXER just to fight Dan – that’s a lie!” he added. 

“Yes, me and Dan are good friends, and when you look at the rankings – the last time I checked – I was number one and he was number two. 

“So if you have the number one and number two fighting each other then nobody will normally say anything, but just because I know Dan then people want to say things and put out false narratives. 

“There were suggestions that I moved to Sky just because I wanted to fight Dan; but that isn’t the case. 

“Is it a fight that could happen? Of course it is because the winner would be in line for a shot at the title, but that wasn’t the primary or secondary reason as to why I signed with BOXXER. 

“We’ve seen that Sky and BOXXER are actually happy to welcome other promoters and channels to make big fights happen, and that was a good enough sign for me.”

View the latest odds and Bet Boosts ahead of Buatsi v Stepien 

Watch all the latest Boxing News videos, including all the build-up to Buatsi v Stepien and Canelo v Ryder, HERE

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