Buatsi vs Stepien pre-fight press conference quotes
Photo Credit to BOXXER / Lawrence Lustig
World championship belts: that’s the goal for Joshua Buatsi in 2023 as he returns to the ring aiming to put the light-heavyweight division on notice and resume his world title campaign in the main event of the BOXXER: CROWNING GLORY event taking place this Saturday night at Birmingham’s Resorts World Arena.
Unified world champion Artur Beterbiev and WBA champion Dmitry Bivol are both on Buatsi’s radar – but world title opportunities depend on Buatsi successfully handling Poland’s undefeated Pawel Stepien this weekend atop a main card airing live from 7pm on Sky Sports Action and Sky Showcase.
“When you win an amateur tournament you come back with something tangible, a medal to show people,” the 2016 Olympic bronze medal winner told a busy pre-fight press conference today.
“In the professional ranks the equivalent is a world title belt and that’s what I want: something tangible to show people that I am the world champion. So the aim this year is to have something tangible to show the people.”
Buatsi is determined to force his way to a world shot, while Poland's Stepien is looking for an upset that would see him seize the Londoner's place at the top of the WBA rankings and position himself for a championship fight.
The two unbeaten boxers are putting their future plans on the line in Saturday's fight.
“Buatsi is a very good fighter. I have watched and studied his fights and I'm happy that I can step in the ring with him on Saturday night and test my skills,” said Stepien.
“This is the height of my career. I'm even more happy that I'm in the main event.”
“He's a good boxer, represented his country, which I must give credit to," he said of Stepien. "I'm sure he'll be strong and tough. But I'm here to win – there's no other language, there's no other thinking process, there's no other thought. The aim is to win, and look good doing it.”
Price vs Bavington
The bill also features a history-making event when Lauren Price and Kirstie Bavington fight for the first professional women's British championship.
Price is a trail-blazer who won Wales' first Olympic boxing gold medal in 2021. But it is early in her pro career and Bavington is a seasoned fighter and a former European champion herself.
“It's a beautiful looking belt as well. It's great just to add more history to my name,” Price said. "I believe in myself and I'll come out victorious. I know she's game, she's tough, she's a pressure fighter, I believe I'm a level above.”
Bavington however will make sure the fight is no coronation for Price, who's only had three professional fights so far in her career.
“She's fighting me for 10 rounds. I'm here to win and that's it. Come May 6 (Saturday), this is me, I'm going to bring that British title home.”
Whittaker vs Grant
Price's team-mate from Tokyo Games, Olympic silver medallist Ben Whittaker returns to action against Jordan "The Game" Grant.
Grant has taken exception to Whittaker's comments and acknowledges there's "needle" between them.
“It'll be good when I beat him,” the Scotsman said. "I wouldn't have taken this fight if I wasn't confident. But obviously if you're an Olympian and you're getting medals you're right up there in the boxing world. I'm under no illusions – it's a mountain to climb, but it'll be sweeter when I beat him. It'll change my life. I'm ready for a war, so let's go.”
Ben Whittaker and Jordan Grant continued to exchange words during the face-off ahead of their fight on Saturday night.
Whittaker however is certain that with his injury woes behind him, he is on course for another victory.
“'The Surgeon’ is back. They call [my style] flash because they can't do it. Saturday you'll see more flash, more performances and why I'm special.”
Benjamin vs Denny
Local men Kaisee Benjamin and Tyler Denny are relishing their bouts that will kick off the televised card, live on Sky Sports Action and Sky Showcase from 7pm on Saturday.
Benjamin fights Sean McComb, the skilled operator from Belfast, while Denny is boxing Macaulay McGowan, who like Denny is in good form.
“In front of the home crowd I'm looking to put on a dominant performance… I'm looking to come, win and do the business, and look good doing it as well.
“It's a good fight, he's a game fighter, I'm a game fighter and it's going to match up really well. I can't see it not being a great fight.
“It's going to be fireworks.”
Saturday’s event begins with a live stream airing free on the Sky Sports Boxing YouTube channel, followed by the main card which can be watched live from 7pm on Sky Showcase (for non-Sky Sports subscribers) and Sky Sports Action (for Sky Sports subscribers).How to watch Joshua Buatsi vs Pawel Stepien
Article sponsored by HÖRFA