FEATURE: When dislike for a sport develops into love, the story of Joshua Buatsi

BY: Bernard Neequaye

Joshua Buatsi hated boxing due to dangers it posed but little did he know that the sport would become his source of livelihood in the future.
The World Boxing Association (WBA) International light-heavyweight champion has mastered the sport and is on course to fight for the world championship anytime soon.

The Ghana-born British fighter could make his ring return by December and that could be his US debut after joining forces with legendary American trainer, Virgil Hunter.

“I hated boxing so much growing up and I never thought that at a point in time I would consider boxing.

“But that is life and whenever I sit down to think of my career I wonder how I ended up becoming a boxer but I have fallen in love with it,” Buatsi told Graphic Sports.



Upbringing

The undefeated hard-hitting boxer was born in Tema but fled to the United Kingdom (UK) with his parents when he was nine years old.

Buatsi began his boxing career at the South Norwood and Victory Club in London having resided in Thornton Heath in South London.

Having won two gold medals at the English National Championship in 2014 and 2015, Buatsi represented Great Britain at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janiero where he won bronze.

“I fell in love with the sport after coming into contact with it through a friend. It was supposed to be a normal practice but we ended up liking it.

“That was how the whole thing started but I have never regretted choosing boxing because I made myself and the entire British community proud,” he said.

Buatsi decided to trade his successful amateur career with turning professional in 2017 after the Olympics in 2016.

Pro career

In July 2017, he made his pro debut at age 24 when he stopped Carlos Mena in two rounds at the O2 Arena. The Ghanaian-British fighter challenged and won the WBA International light-heavyweight title a year later after beating Andrejs Pokumeiko after six bouts as a professional.

Buatsi has successfully defended his title six times since winning it three years ago and being undefeated in 15 pro fights, he could land a world title shot soon.

His new California-based trainer Hunter has guided him to two impressive victories in subsequent bouts against Daniel Dos Santos and Ricards Bolotniks.

The American trainer is noted for the training of legendary former American boxer Andre Ward who held multiple world titles at middleweight and light-heavyweight from 2004 to 2017 before retiring undefeated.

Buatsi described his 11th round explosive stoppage win over Bolotniks in his last outing as a big victory.

“My next fight could take place in the US but we are still negotiating and I believe my promoters will come out with the best decision on my next bout.

“Beating top opponents really gives me confidence of what I can achieve going forward and I am very happy with that emphatic win.

“I give so much respect to my trainer because he has been of tremendous help since coming on board,” Buatsi told the Graphic Sports.

In all these achievements, Buatsi holds his Ghanaian heritage in high esteem and described a possible world championship bout in Ghana as a dream come true.

That, he said, would be the greatest achievement of his boxing career and is looking forward to making sure he attained that before he called it quits.

“It will be an emotional comeback for me and it is something I have been dreaming of. I can’t wait to achieve that for myself and the Ghanaian people.

“I will be more than glad if my team can put that together at a certain stage before I finally call it quits,” he said.