JOSHUA BUATSI could be in line to challenge light-heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol ‘at the end of the year’.
The 2016 Olympic bronze medalist extended his record to 14-0 with a brutal knockout of Daniel Dos Santos.
Dave Thompson Matchroom BoxingJoshua Buatsi pictured with promoter Eddie Hearn[/caption]
Mark Robinson Matchroom BoxingDmitry Bivol is the WBA light-heavyweight champion[/caption]
It was his first fight under new trainer Virgil Hunter, renowned for guiding Andre Ward’s career, while he maintained his No2 WBA ranking.
Bivol, 30, also promoted by Matchroom Boxing, owns the title and recently defended it against Craig Richards, 31, in Manchester.
Hearn has opened the door to Buatsi, 28, fighting the Russian by the year’s out, but warned Hunter may want more time with his new pupil.
He told iFL TV: “I think he could do it at the end of the year.
“But obviously he’s got a new trainer now, he’s working with Virgil Hunter, they are going to want a few fights together, which is fine, as long as we step up appropriately for the next fight.
“And I think they’ll do that.”
Buatsi got off to a flying start under American Hunter, and the pair are expected to continue building together.
It could mean a world title shot will not come next, but Hearn has called for a step up in competition.
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He said: “I always think JB has been technically very sound and it’s going to take time for him to gel with Virgil.
“I don’t want him to wait around too long, because I feel like he could win a world title now. But they’re going to want a bit of time to gel together.
“He’s just got to take that step up now, I keep saying it, between a Dos Santos and a Dmitry Bivol.
“There’s plenty of levels in between and he’s got to chose one of them, hopefully as high as possible, because I believe he’s good enough to do that.
“And I don’t think, we know we represent Dmitry Bivol as well, and I think that’s a fight that can be made and I think he could beat him.
“Obviously they’ll want him to be in the best possible place to beat him and sometimes you mustn’t wait around too long.”