The Friday Faceup

Joshua Buatsi (left) faces off Croatian Marko Calic.

After the bonanza of last weekend with world title action across the globe we return to some sense of normality given the current health restrictions and limitations posed.

Pick of the weekend action is the Matchroom Boxing promotion on Sunday night (4th) featuring an international light-heavyweight (12st 7lb/175lbs) contest between Rio Olympic bronze medalist and world ranked Joshua Buatsi (12-0, 10 KO’s) and experienced former elite amateur Marko Calic (11-0, 6 KO’s).

This fight between two undefeated boxers is an intriguing ten rounder with both having not boxed for around a year and the younger Buatsi (27) facing a 33 year old Croatian who is tall for the weight at 6ft 3″ and has fought at heavyweight.

The Croydon, London based Buatsi has the higher knockout ratio but although being an Olympic medalist did not fight consistently at the elite amateur level as Calic did. This largely explains the age difference between these two combatants with similar pro-records.

Buatsi is currently the fighter on the upward trajectory with a world ranking (#3 WBA and IBF) and lucrative domestic dust up with Queensberry Promotions’ and fellow Londoner Anthony Yarde on the horizon. As Buatsi is first to acknowledge – one step at a time.

Both fighters on Sunday enter the contest confident in their own abilities with Buatsi giving his opponent full respect over fight week. When asked by Adam Smith (Sky) in Friday’s final press conference about his long layoff, he responded “I’m 400 days out and counting….I can’t wait”.

Calic confirmed “I’m ready…I prepared myself well…I’m ready for everything”. He then added this is “My biggest and toughest test to date….we find out on Sunday”.

The hard punching Buatsi hasn’t done anything wrong as a pro but it remains to be seen how far he can go. Sunday night should give us an indication and also how much the layoff has impacted. Look for the Ghanaian born Londoner to break his opponent down sometime from rounds 8 to 10.

The event will again be behind closed doors in the unlikely setting of Milton Keynes, England and will be televised live on Sky Sports Arena in the UK (19:00 BST start) and DAZN in the US.

It also features as chief support the women’s vacant WBC super-lightweight (10st/140lbs) title fight between Chantelle Cameron from Northampton, England and Brazilian Adriana Araujo over ten two minute rounds. The shorter Araujo has an elite amateur record and is an aggressive come forward fighter with the monniker of the ‘Pit Bull’. Look for Cameron to use her height and skill advantage to box to a narrow points victory.

The card also features a number of other competitive contests including English middleweight title action between champ Linus Udofia and John Harding Jr, a pro-debuting John Hedges at super-middle and the return of Croatian heavyweight Alen Babic (4-0, 4 KO’s).

In a continuing difficult period British promoter’s Matchroom Boxing, Queensberry Promotions and Golden Contract have done well to get the show back on the road over the last few months and this Sunday marks a further return to some normality.

Finally, The Undisputed’s best wishes go out to Eddie Hearn (CEO of Matchroom Boxing) who has tested positive for COVID-19. We wish him a full and speedy recovery.

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