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Joshua Buatsi vows to beat Craig Richards by any means necessary; Spider wants Bivol rematch

Joshua Buatsi and Dmitry Bivol have vowed to emerge victorious in their long-awaited grudge match in south London as they briefly showcased their skills at Wednesday’s media training.

The London duo will go toe-to-toe in an enticing WBA light heavyweight title eliminator at The O2 Arena on Saturday night, with both fighters keen to escape the domestic scene and make a global impression.

Undefeated knockout artist Buatsi (15-0), who has been on a slow and steady rise to the elite after claiming Olympic bronze in 2016, comes into the fight as the favorite in what is his first genuine litmus test. as a professional.

Joshua Buatsi (left) and Craig Richards (right) go head to head at the O2 Arena on Saturday

Joshua Buatsi (left) and Craig Richards (right) go head to head at the O2 Arena on Saturday

Buatsi looked good while shadow boxing at Wednesday's media workout

Richards hit the pads while showing off his power.

The south London rivals briefly put their skills on display at Wednesday afternoon’s media training.

Buatsi was taken past seven rounds for the first time as a pro in his most recent outing against Ricards Bolotniks last year, in what turned out to be his toughest test to date, ultimately earning an eleventh-round knockout victory. .

However, the hard-hitting 29-year-old acknowledged on Wednesday that ‘Spider’ seems like a completely different perspective, although he insisted the pressure – both of headlining The O2 and the rewards that will come with victory – won’t get to him.

“I took a lot of that,” Buatsi told Matchroom Boxing of his win over Bolotniks. ‘Spider is a different kind of opponent. A different opponent, a different test, but I’m ready.

“There’s always pressure, but the pressure I put on myself, my expectations, that’s pressure,” he continued. This is not pressure.

‘Everybody has expectations: there are the fans, the crowd, the public, their opinions, but are you going to drown in that? I can’t swim, so I won’t find myself in that.

Buatsi went beyond seven rounds for the first time last time against Ricards Bolotniks

Buatsi went beyond seven rounds for the first time last time against Ricards Bolotniks

The 29-year-old Briton insists he learned from a tough matchup and will defeat Richards on Saturday.

The 29-year-old Briton insists he learned from a tough matchup and will defeat Richards on Saturday.

The Londoner’s careers have been intertwined since amateur days, when Buatsi beat Richards on points in three rounds in 2014 before being selected to represent Team GB at the Rio Olympics, while they have practiced as professionals ever since.

Buatsi insists that aside from the result, he can’t remember either his amateur fight or his subsequent bouts, but he was more confident in his pre-fight prediction. “I’m there to win,” he said. “It’s simple, I’m here to win.”

Richards, on the other hand, vowed to show why he belongs at the world level, after his stock rose significantly following Dmitry Bivol’s shock victory over pound-for-pound star Canelo Alvarez earlier in the month.

Spider fell to a narrow points loss to Bivol last year, providing arguably the toughest test of the Russian’s career to date.

Richards believes he now has the tools in his arsenal to beat Buatsi on Saturday night and Bivol in a future rematch.

Richards lost to Dmtry Bivol last year, but his performance now looks better after the Russian defeated Canelo Alvarez.

Richards lost to Dmtry Bivol last year, but his performance now looks better after the Russian defeated Canelo Alvarez.

“I’m at my best, I’m ready to go,” he said. ‘All the previous experience, I need to take it into this fight. I’m ready to go now.

“It is time to show why I think I am one of the best fighters in the world, if not the best in the world. It’s time for Saturday night to show what it’s all about.

Of Bivol, he added: ‘That’s what disappointed me the most about that fight, I didn’t go through the gears. I judged the first few rounds a little bit wrong, thinking I was putting in more than I did. I was kind of inertia.

“It was only when I got to ninth that Peter (Sims, his trainer) said I could be close that I was like, ‘Okay,’ and I mastered 10, 11 and 12. When I heard it was questionable, I put my foot on the gas a little bit more and I left the ring with three or four more rounds and more gears to go.

‘Coming short in a round was disappointing when you didn’t give it your all. I think this time it would be a bigger fight. People wrote me off the first time, but they saw how I acquitted myself, so this time people would give me more chances.

Richards, 32, is now determined to prove why he is one of the best fighters in the world.

Richards, 32, is now determined to prove why he is one of the best fighters in the world.

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