Joshua Buatsi ready to shine but testing night against Ricards Bolotniks first

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Joshua Buatsi came away from the Rio 2016 Olympics with a bronze medal and the potential to be the future star of the sport in this country.

Now it's time for him to shine before the class of Tokyo 2020 graduate.

And tonight is a great chance for the light-heavyweight ace to really send a message in the division.

Buatsi, 28, takes on Ricards Bolotniks in the final helping from Eddie Hearn's back garden party.

On paper, Latvian Bolotniks will look little different to some of Buatsi's previous foes.

A mixed record which reads 18 wins with five defeats would suggest to the naked eye this should be an easy night for Buatsi.

But the Brit faces a real challenge at the nicknamed 'Matchroom Square Garden' this evening.

Bolotniks brings some power, he can also find a way on the cards and is incredibly awkward to figure out. But it is what the Brit basher needs.

Buatsi has to be tested, he has to be in a fight where there is a real danger he will lose.

There is a chance he could tonight if he is not at his best against the Latvian. Bolotniks is no bin man, that's for sure.

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But Buatsi should still come out unscathed. And with a big knockout victory, too.

It will be his 15th win of a professional career which has stalled a couple of times but has still the potential to be a hell of a ride when it reaches full throttle.

It had seemed then all roads would lead to WBA champion Dmitry Bivol, but the Russian is now in the mix for a clash with Canelo Alvarez in November.

There are some great bouts for Buatsi at domestic level, including Callum Johnson, Anthony Yarde and former amateur rival Lyndon Arthur.

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But it is quite fanciful to think any of these could happen next given they are all with Frank Warren on BT Sport while Buatsi sits with Eddie Hearn on DAZN. For now, at least.

The queue behind Buatsi to be the next up-and-coming pro star is long after a tremendous Tokyo Olympics for GB Boxing.

Peter McGrail is already confirmed as having turned professional after an early upset defeat in Japan.

While promoters and managers are circling for medal stars Galal Yafai, Lauren Price, Ben Whittaker, Pat McCormack, Frazer Clarke and Kariss Artingstall.

With Sky, DAZN, BT and Channel 5 all in the market for high-profile names then it could be quite a race to land them.

  • Eddie Hearn
  • Olympics
  • Boxing

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