It was a very impressive outing, particularly if you watched with vested interest to see how much 🇬🇧🇬🇭Joshua Buatsi (15-0-0, 13KO) had improved in these last few months as a rising 28 year old contender. 🇱🇻Ricards Bolotniks (18-6-1, 8KO) came into this contest ranked in the top-6 by 3 different sanctioning bodies (them being the WBC, WBO & IBF), and fought well to give credence for his placement in the ranks, and did well enough to extend Buatsi farther than any other opponent has managed to do, but Joshua finally caught up to him in the 11th round, and put his lights out with a massive right hand for the signature knockout.
Bolotniks more than held his own in the early going, being able to sneak in a couple of sharp right hands to get Joshua’s attention. Buatsi was able to maintain his composure, and operated methodically behind impeccable balance, looking to control the ring. Buatsi’s best friend was his jab, was he was able to control his opponents movement, forcing him to periodically shell up, while he ripped both left and right hands to the body in those skirmishes.
Bolotniks was able to occasionally sneak in the left hook behind the guard, and held his own in 50-50 exchanges between the two. The 4th round, Buatsi sat down more on his power, and busted through the Latvian fighters guard, wobbling him with a couple of right hands to the temple in closed quarters. The class between the two further separated in the 5th round, with Buatsi becoming a commanding force in the ring, starting the action, and finishing off, seemingly picking up steam, while Bolotniks was beginning to waiver a bit under the onslaught, and the power.
Round 6 showed the wear and tear, as Joshua Buatsi ripped a nasty “45” punch (half uppercut, half hook) that put Bolotniks on the seat of his pants for the knockdown in visible pain. He got up, and Buatsi wailed away at the brave Latvian fighter, further hurting him, but couldn’t quite put him away inside of the stanza. Losing stamina after opening the full tool kit, Buatsi stopped to take a breather, and Bolotniks was able to see the 7th round.
One of the few weaknesses that Buatsi has left to be corrected, is his sense of distance, as he leans back with his upper-body movement when his opponent is too close, instead of circling out, or moving at an angle, and Bolotniks in round 9 took advantage of that. A point was taken away from Buatsi within that same round for repeated low blows. This was the farthest that an opponent had taken Buatsi in his pro career, so this was a fight to analyze, to see what type of gas tank the Ghanaian/British fighter has at this portion of his career.
On that front, he performed pretty well. The phrase “second wind” comes off as cliché…but he appeared to have rebounded with his energy in a strong conclusion to the fight, which is a good sign going forward when factoring him in with more notable match-ups. Buatsi in round 11 landed a nuclear right hand that dropped Boloniks immediately by the turnbuckle, and as soon as he went down, there was no question whether he was getting up or not…he wasn’t…..and just like that, Buatsi cleared a top Light-Heavyweight contender impressively, to cap off Fight Camp, Week 3 with a bang.
Promoter Eddie Hearn leaked to the public that he believes that Buatsi is ready for a World Title shot, and that there aren’t any weak links towards obtaining a title….of course with 🇷🇺Artur Beterbiev holding the LINEAL/WBC/IBF World Titles, 🇷🇺🇰🇬Dmitry Bivol possessing the WBA belt, and hard hitting 🇺🇸Joe Smith Jr., who recently obtained the WBO crown, every avenue would present a real challenge for Buatsi, but he is well equipped to compete with the best of the best. Hearn also stated that he would like Buatsi to have one more fight around December – particularly in the US, before he gets his opportunity at whoever is willing to give Buatsi that title shot.