Joshua Buatsi wants to fight the winner of Artur Beterbiev vs Callum Smith: ‘It gives me a shot at three belts’

Joshua Buatsi would welcome a fight with the winner of Artur Beterbiev’s upcoming clash with Callum Smith.

A date has not yet been set for unified champion Beterbiev’s bout with Smith for the WBC, WBO and IBF light-heavyweight titles but it is expected to take place in the coming months.

Buatsi meanwhile boxes highly ranked Pole Pawel Stepien on Saturday, live on Sky Sportsas he looks to position himself for a world title fight.

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Joshua Buatsi acknowledges he has to beat Pawel Stepien on Saturday if he’s to challenge for world title honors

If he is successful against Stepien, Buatsi has made it clear that he is ready to challenge for any of the major belts, and the winner of Beterbiev-Smith would be a most appealing opportunity.

“It gives me a shot at three belts,” Buatsi told Sky Sports.

“If people are not clear about it, if it’s offered to me, I’m not going to turn it down,” Buatsi said.

Fighting a fellow Briton for a world title would be even more special and Buatsi does like Smith’s chances in the fight.

“It’ll be a good fight. It might be a good time for Smith to take such a fight,” he said.

Buatsi faces off with Stepien for the first time

“But you can never override Beterbiev. That’s a long reigning champion for a reason. Not by chance, not by anything.”

As fearsome a puncher as Beterbiev is, Buatsi wouldn’t hesitate to test himself against the unified champion.

“I think there’s things he does well as a champion but I also bet on myself and say there’s things that I do well as a fighter,” he said. “But let me get in the ring and show something.

“I can give an all-time great speech,” he continued. “It’s easier to talk right now and say, ‘Oh I’ll do this, I’ll do that.’ It’ll be a very, very tough fight.”

His contest with Stepien on Saturday is a must-win, of course, but it serves another purpose too. Another bout with another world level contender prepares him to be successful if he does get that chance to face the best the sport has to offer.

“The aim is to have one fight to get the ball rolling. If it’s presented,” Buatsi promised. “I wouldn’t say no.”

Hunting the best

In his pursuit of excellence Buatsi traveled to America to join coach Virgil Hunter, famous for his work with Hall of Famer Andre Ward.

Stepien on Saturday will be his fourth fight with Hunter in his corner and Buatsi believes the American has prepared him for the sport’s elite.

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A massive right hand by Joshua Buatsi ends the fight in round four against Daniel Dos Santos.

“We have goals to be a world champion and he knows what it takes because he’s been there before. He’s taken many fighters there before so I trust what he’s telling me to get me there,” Buatsi explained.

“It has been [eye opening]. Just his experience and his view of life as well in general. When he talks it’s like a father figure speaking to you. So I listen and I listen to a man that’s obviously been through a lot and has got a lot of experience.”

Their bond has developed further in the time they’ve spent together.

“We understand each other a lot now. With the ‘Spider’ [Craig Richards] camp I even lived with him so that was very intense and non-stop,” Buatsi said. “’This is what I saw you do in the gym today, this is what I meant, this is what I want you to do, this is what I want you to do more.’ So that was quite intense.

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Joshua Buatsi came through a test when he stopped Marko Calic in the seventh round

“But the relationship is good. For me it gets better and better. It grows more, I understand more of what he’s saying. I guess he understands my style and I understand more what he wants from me as a boxer, as a fighter. “

Buasti insists he’s not losing any of the ferocity that his boxing has become known for.

“Virg just adds to the style that you have. If you’re defensive, he’s going to add to that style and maybe teach you how to be more attacking. If you are attacking he’s going to teach you more defense but to still keep your attacking. The aim here is strengthening your strengths,” he said.

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“People say he’s a defensive coach, which he is, but I say to people he wants to improve your defence.”

And Buatsi noted: “The best form of defense is offence.

“Hey [Hunter] is aggressive. I’m in there sparring and I know the instructions he’s telling me.

“He’ll improve your defense but he’s about attacking and taking people out.”

Watch Lauren Price vs Kirstie Bavington from 7pm this Saturday live on Sky Sports Action gold Sky Showcase