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Joshua Buatsi says he would KO Sergey Kovalev, breaks down Joshua-Fury fight

Anthony Cocks

Australian-based boxing journalist Anthony Cocks has been covering the sport for over 15 years for various print and online publications. He refuses to believe that Roberto Duran ever lost to Tommy Hearns and says that Jeff Fenech would destroy Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali on the same night.

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Undefeated light heavyweight prospect Joshua Buatsi 13-0 (11) believes he would knockout former 175-pound champion Sergey Kovalev 34-4-1 (29) if given the chance.

The 27-year-old Londoner by way of Accra, Ghana, defeated previously undefeated Croatian Marko Calic 11-1 (6) by seventh-round knockout last weekend.

“Sitting here now, feeling good to fight, I’ll tell you straight: I would have taken him out,” Buatsi told William Hill. “But that’s me sitting here saying it, it would be almost different in the moment. But sitting here now, I’ll say I would have handled it.

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“But I commend Kovalev for enduring what he went through and then Yarde for stepping up and almost getting it done [last year].”

Russian veteran Kovalev saw off the spirited challenge of Brit Anthony Yarde 20-1 (19) in August last year.

Buatsi said: “Yarde was very, very unlucky. He almost got it right. I watched that fight, I even sent him a message saying: ‘Unlucky bro, you just fell short.’ So very, very unlucky, and I rate him for that. It didn’t go in his favour but he took the chance, so I have to rate that.”

An all-British clash between Buatsi and Yarde would have the fans salivating, but promotional rivalries may prevent the fight from happening.

“It’s hard to say – I’m with Eddie [Hearn], he’s with Frank [Warren]. I think that’s the main elephant in the room,” Buatsi said.

“It’s obvious – different promoters, different broadcasters – so will they merge? Would Sky let me box on BT, would BT let him box on Sky? Unless we end up with the same promoters or someone has a world title or someone is a mandatory, that’s the only way I can see it happening.

“But next year, I’m not sure. But at times like this, things change quick – last-minute deals are being made, things that you wouldn’t expect to happen are happening, and people with different promoters have fought before. But would it happen next year? It’s hard to say.”

Asked about the mooted heavyweight unification bout between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury, Buatsi said it was hard to pick a winner.

“If you’re looking at who has the most belts, Joshua does. If you’re looking at the comeback of all time, it has to be what Fury did against [Deontay] Wilder,” Buatsi said.

“Wilder was knocking out everyone, and Fury returned and went straight into the deep end. You can’t just ignore that or talk past it.

“And with Joshua, back-to-back championship fights constantly, beating everyone in front of him. He had one slip-up [against Andy Ruiz Jr.] and corrected it, beat him, so it’s like he hasn’t put a foot wrong. And he has four of the five belts. So, it’s going to be whoever shows up on the night… It might come down to who wants it more.

“Technically they are both good, they can both punch. Fury has proved that he can actually punch. He’s got the boxing IQ – people may say Joshua doesn’t have that, but he proved against Ruiz that rather than going forward and trying to knock someone out, he can go on the back foot and box in and out. He showed that.

“Whoever gets the tactics right, it’s hard to say as the pressure is going to be on – everything is going to be at stake. It’ll be who gets it right on the night.”

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