It’s a pretty packed third and final offering for Matchroom’s Fight Camp this Saturday night, and the bill topper sees Joshua Buatsi in his toughest test to date as he takes on MTK Golden Contract winner, Ricards Bolotniks at Matchroom HQ in Brentwood, Essex.
DAZN is the place to watch the action unfold, and Buatsi’s WBA International light heavyweight title is on the line against Bolotniks.
The 2016 Olympic Bronze medallist has made a pretty trouble free start to his professional career this far, picking up a British title and a ranking building WBA belt along the way.
The only real scare the Ghana-born Croydon native came in his October 2020 meeting with Marko Calic, but he eventually came through in seven rounds.
In his most recent appearance, Buatsi (14-0, 12 KOs) overwhelmed Daniel Blenda Dos Santos in Manchester back in May, dropping the Frenchman twice on the way to a fourth round win.
Latvia’s Bolotniks (18-5-1, 8 KOs) will definitely come to win, and his record is a deceiving one. His last defeat came in June 2018 in a stoppage loss to Thabiso Mchunu, but ‘The Lion’ has won seven on the spin since.
The 31-year-old captured the MTK Golden Contract in style, wiping out Steven Ward in a round, widely outscoring Hosea Burton, before winning the final with a tenth and last round stoppage of Serge Michel.
Prediction: Buatsi is a special talent, and is certainly a man headed for the top, but Bolotniks will be an opponent that will be tough to dislodge and discourage.
It could well be a night where ‘JB’ needs all twelve rounds to see off the Latvian. Bolotniks is tough, and although he has three stoppage defeats on his record, they all came early in his career, and the Mchunu defeat was at cruiserweight. Buatsi will take a lively contest clearly for the judges.
McKinson faces Runowski
Michael McKinson is finally getting the overdue exposure that he deserves, and ‘The Problem’ from Portsmouth defends his WBO Global welterweight title for the first time against Poland’s Przemyslaw Runowski.
McKinson (20-0, 2 KOs) took his opportunity in Gibraltar on the big Dillian Whyte v Alexander Povetkin rematch bill in March, and he floored the favoured Chris Kongo in the opening round on the way to an impressive points win.
The 27-year-old, rated at four with the WBO, now faces Runowski (19-1, 5 KOs), whose only defeat was in April 2019 on the cards to Josh Kelly, where the Pole was down three times and outscored widely at the O2 Arena in London.
Prediction: He has returned with two straight wins, the last at the end of 2020, but will have his hands full here with McKinson, who I expect to take a wide win on the cards.
Ford meets Bellotti
A solid crossroads clash at featherweight sees Raymond Ford and Reece Bellotti meet over ten rounds.
New Jersey native Ford (8-0-1, 4 KOs) is highly regarded, but suffered a first career blip last time out, when held to a draw by fellow unbeaten prospect, Aaron Perez over eight rounds in March.
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Watford’s ‘Bomber’ Bellotti (14-4, 12 KOs) has lost his way somewhat after picking up the Commonwealth title, and has lost four of his last six, the last a points defeat to Jordan Gill in August last year.
Prediction: Ford will want to make a statement, and can score a stoppage win just after halfway.
Barrett, Farooq, Cordina, Price return
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Outright Lonsdale Belt owner Kash Farooq has his third contest under the Matchroom banner, and the Scot takes on Mexico’s Luis Gerardo Castillo (28-2, 18 KOs) over ten scheduled rounds, with the vacant WBC International bantamweight title on offer.
Farooq (15-1, 6 KOs) performed well in his last fight, but was tested in a points win over Alexander Espinoza, and Castillo comes in as yet another unknown Mexican quantity.
Prediction: Farooq should be able to stay out of trouble and score a wide enough points win.
Joe Cordina looked rusty after returning in March from over a year away from the ring, and he will look to improve over ten against Joshuah Hernandez at super featherweight.
Welshman Cordina (12-0, 7 KOs) took a majority win against Faroukh Kourbanov, but had collected British, Commonwealth and WBA fringe belts before that win. Chicago-based Hernandez (10-3, 8 KOs) is 2-2 in his last four fights, and is coming off a six round knockout win in June.
Prediction: Cordina can show off his skills here, and remove the visitor from battle within the first half of the bout.
Hopey Price (4-0, 1 KO) is hoping to make it five wins from five as a pro, and the Yorkshireman comes up against the undefeated Italian, Claudio Grande (5-0, 3 KOs) over six at super bantamweight.
Prediction: Price should have enough about him for a points win.
WBO middleweight world champion, Savannah Marshall (10-0, 8 KOs) and former world title challenger, Natasha Jonas (9-2-1, 7 KOs) were both set to feature on the card, however issues with opponent travel means they will not be featuring.