By Barry Holbrook: Joshua Buatsi has failed to return the contract for an IBF light heavyweight title eliminator against Jean Pascal. As such, the fight is no longer happening.
The fight was supposed to be a collaborative effort between Lou DiBella and Frank Warren to stage the contest.
The IBF will instead move down the list to find another opponent to face the 39-year-old Pascal (36-6-1, 20 KOs) for the eliminator.
It’s not all that surprising that Buatsi (16-0, 13 KOs) won’t be fighting Pascal because a much bigger fight is on the horizon against Callum Smith. That would be one that would do well in the UK but not elsewhere.
Pascal would have been a really tough fight for Buatsi, as even at 39, he possesses more hand speed, and he’s a tough guy that will force him into a war of attrition.
Buatsi’s career has failed to take off since he competed in the 2016 Olympics for the UK. Since turning professional, Buatsi has faced one quality opponent in Craig Richards last May, and he barely squeaked by him with a narrow 12 round unanimous decision.
If Buatsi takes on Callum Smith next, that would be a great fight for the fans, but you never know with him. He could wind up resorting to facing the bottom dwellers that he’d been fighting for the last five years.
You got to feel sorry for Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing, as he probably thought he was signing a gem when he inked Buatsi to a contract with his company.
For whatever reason, Buatsi’s career hasn’t taken off like other Matchroom fighters like Conor Benn and Anthony Joshua. We’ll have to see if Hearn chooses to re-sign Buatsi when his contract expires with Matchroom.
The way that Buatsi was shaken up by Richards last May, it’s unlikely that he’ll beat Callum or IBF, WBC & WBO light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev. Those guys are on another level than the 29-year-old Buatsi.
Buatsi’s best wins:
- Craig Richards
- Ricards Bolotniks
- Daniel Blenda Dos Santos
- Marko Calic
- Renold Quinlan
- Ryan Ford
- Marco Antonio Periban
By this point in Buatsi’s career, he should have faced much opposition than this. He should have been mixing it up with the likes of Callum Smith years ago instead of waiting until he’s 29 to face him.
IBF has defaulted light heavyweight contender Joshua Buatsi from a title eliminator vs. Jean Pascal for failing to return signed agreement by deadline after Aug. 30 purse bid. Contract was due by Sept. 14. Pascal will now be ordered to face next ranked contender Michael Eifert.
— Dan Rafael (@DanRafael1) September 21, 2022