EXCLUSIVE: ‘It’s a decision I made on my own’: Joshua Buatsi on walking away from mentor Anthony Joshua after signing with BOXXER and how Matchroom ‘couldn’t match’ his demands… as he bids to become the new face of Sky Sports
- Joshua Buatsi said he wanted to follow his own path after leaving Matchroom
- He has walked away from mentor Anthony Joshua for a new chapter at Sky
- Buatsi said Matchroom could not match his demands during contract talks
Joshua Buatsi has claimed he made his decision to leave Matchroom and DAZN for rival promoter BOXXER ‘on his own’ – after leaving his mentor Anthony Joshua behind for a new chapter.
The 30-year-old light-heavyweight fighter started his career with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing stable and had close ties to former heavyweight champion Joshua – having been signed to his management company 258.
That deal saw Joshua play an integral role as a promoter for his fights on Matchroom but now Buatsi is looking to start fresh – with his fights now set to be aired on Sky Sports.
He’s already explained he’s looking to reach as many fans as possible and felt DAZN didn’t get as many viewers – but this decision was mainly a way for the undefeated star to carve out a new path for himself, with his first fight slated for May 6 at the Genting Arena in Birmingham.
‘I see Sky and BOXXER winning bids for fights that I’m involved in,’ he told Sportsmail when asked why he made the jump to a new promoter.
Joshua Buatsi has spoken about his decision to branch out on his own after leaving Matchroom for new promoter BOXXER
He has left behind his old mentor Anthony Joshua – who had signed the light-heavyweight to his company 258 Management – and is looking for a fresh new chapter
‘What is the biggest platform out there? It’s Sky Sports. You can see why I would want to be here. Where else would I want to be?
‘Every fighter has to make a move with their own judgment. I’ve looked at where I am and thought “at this moment in time, what the best move for me?”. And that’s what I’ve done.’
When asked if he had spoken to Joshua about his decision to leave Matchroom and DAZN – Buatsi, who is no longer signed to 258, said: ‘It’s a decision that I made on my own. Of course I have some people that I speak to and I weigh up on my options, but I had to set out and do what’s best for me.’
After winning a bronze medal in the 2016 Olympic games, Matchroom were quick to snap up Buatsi and led him to 16 straight victories – but the fighter said it was the right time to move on after they failed to meet his demands in negotiations.
‘There were terms and things I wanted to be matched. They weren’t able to be matched and it was time for me to move on.
The 30-year-old said Matchroom and chief Eddie Hearn (R) could not match his demands
‘The requirements that I had can’t be matched. I entered the stage where I felt I needed to move on. I had needs that weren’t able to be matched. I had to make a decision that was good for me.
DAZN looked like the future of boxing TV after snapping up the likes of Joshua and Canelo – who signed one of the biggest deals in sporting history worth around £300m in 2021.
But in recent times Sky Sports have shown they can still hold their own – boasting the likes of Chris Eubank Jr, Liam Smith, Claressa Shields, Savannah Marshall, Joseph Parker and now Buatsi.
Buatsi believes each fighter has a different idea of what broadcaster they want to fight on. He didn’t want his fans to ‘download an app and have to type their email in’. He credited Sky and BOXXER’s chief promoter Ben Shalom for their passion and willingness to improve as a factor in his decision making.
‘Fighters have to look at their own situation, you can’t look at what I’m doing and think because I’ve done it, it’s going to be the right move for you.
He praised Sky for their impressive stable and believes BOXXER chief Ben Shalom (L) will keep him active and get him big fights
‘[BOXXER] is a promoter that I think is very passionate about the sport. It seems to be listening to the fans and taking on board that they’re saying. That’s what you want in a partnership – someone that’s working with another person and working together. It’s not like you’re working for someone. That’s a set-up that I prefer.’
Since Joshua left Sky Sports last year, the broadcaster has lacked a true face of its boxing programme. The Watford-born star was so dominant and successful as their cameras charted his rise from Olympic gold medalist to two-time world champion.
Buatsi now sees a gap in the market for himself to become the new face – as he hailed the increasing talent in their stable.
‘I believe there is a space for somebody to be the next face and with the platform Sky has got, I think that’s a possibility,’ he added.
‘You look at some of the events they’ve put together with the women’s fights, Marshall v Shields. You look at the pay-per-view events, Khan and Brook, Eubank and Smith, you look at Dan Azeez. There’s so many that I can’t get into the name dropping. I think it’s self explanatory.’
Buatsi said there was a chance to be the next face of Sky Sports as he eyes a world title shot
After an impressive start to his career and the brutal nature to some of his recent fights – including a streak of 10 straight knockouts between 2018 and 2021 – it can’t be long before Buatsi gets himself in a world title fight.
Domestic dust-ups against Anthony Yarde and Dan Azeez have both been suggested as possible opponents to come.
Buatsi, who has no opponent in May as it stands, has been assured that he will be kept active and be given big fights that fans want to see.
For a fighter who has fought there times in two years – he is craving to get more active again – and then let the bigger opportunities follow on from there.
‘I wouldn’t have made the move here if world title fights wasn’t something they couldn’t deliver,’ he said. ‘It’s something very realistic and possible to be delivered. That’s why I’m here.’
Joshua Buatsi is back: Saturday May 6, Resorts World Arena in Birmingham. Tickets details at BOXXER.com
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