Joshua Buatsi makes his debut under the BOXXER banner this Saturday evening at the Resorts World Arena in Birmingham, as he faces Pavel Stepien over twelve rounds at light heavyweight in the main event.
Sky Sports televise Buatsi vs Stepien live in the UK.
Buatsi (16-0, 13 KOs) only featured once in 2022, with the 2016 Olympic Bronze medalist coming through a stern examination in a tight points win against Craig Richards.
The 30-year-old Croydon man reportedly rejected a world title shot against WBA champion, Dmitry Bivol and subsequently cut ties with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing, believing that his exposure would be far greater under Ben Shalom and Sky Sports.
Poland’s Stepien (18-0-1, 12 KOs) stands in the way of his progress. The 32-year-old was due to meet Callum Smith in March, but the Liverpudlian withdrew through injury, and he gets another tough assignment here.
He hasn’t been past ten rounds as a professional, but is durable, with his last three wins all over the eight round distance.
Stepien was last out in August 2022, outscoring Iago Kiziria.
Prediction: Buatsi will be desperate to impress on his BOXXER bow, but Stepien may prove a tough nut to crack. I think Buatsi may need the distance before taking a wide points win.
Price battles Bavington for British title
The undercard features history in the making, with the first ever female Lonsdale Belt up for grabs. Lauren Price comes up against the teak-tough Kirstie Bavington for the inaugural British welterweight title.
2020 Olympic Gold medallist, Price (3-0, 1 KO) has eased into professional life, and warmed up for this test in March, winning all eight rounds against Naomi Mannes in France.
Bavington (7-3-2, 2 KOs) handed Mannes her first loss in November last year, taking a points win to defend her European title, but the Wolverhampton native suffered defeat last time out, edged out by split decision by Kandi Wyatt.
Prediction: Price should become the first ever British champion with a points win.
2020 Olympic silver medallist, Ben Whittaker (2-0, 1 KO) makes his first appearance of 2023 after a long spell on the sidelines with injury and the highly-touted prospect can stop former Tommy Fury foe, Jordan Grant (6-3) in their light heavyweight six rounder.
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Sean McComb (15-1, 5 KOs) defends his WBO European super lightweight title for the first time, and the Irishman can come through a tough test on the cards against Kaisee Benjamin (16-2-1, 6 KOs).
Tyler Denny (16-2-3) is in fine recent form, and he can continue that good run with a points win over ten at middleweight against Macaulay McGowan (17-3-2, 3 KOs).
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Former BOXXER tournament winner, Cori Gibbs (17-1, 3 KOs) suffered a first defeat in his last fight, losing by three points that he was deducted for losing his gumshield repeatedly, and he can take a close points win over eight at lightweight in a rematch against Jimmy First (14-1, 4 KOs).
Former British champion, Shakan Pitters (17-2, 6 KOs) also sees action, and the light heavyweight can stop Joel McIntyre (20-6, 5 KOs) inside their eight round distance.
Unbeaten super featherweight, Danny Quartermaine (8-0, 2 KOs) is set to feature against an opponent to be confirmed.