Bronze for Buatsi

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     Buatsi takes on Kazakh star – Buatsi reached the semi final with a series of high quality performances characterised by knockdowns and stoppages to take on Kazakhstan’s hugely accomplished Adilbek Niazymbetov in what would be his biggest test of the tournament so far.

The bout got underway with Buatsi landing a right hand to the midriff of the Kazakh and throwing several more hard punches towards the chest of his fellow semi-finalist. He assumed the centre of the ring and pressured behind his high guard, knowing his Kazakh opponent is highly accurate and quick with his hands. Buatsi landed another strong right hand to the face of Niazymbetov who returned it in kind with is own before using his deft footwork to escape Buatsi’s incoming counters. The Kazakh continued his skillful use of movement by pivoting and making Joshua miss whilst firing stinging southpaw that connected with the head of Buatsi. Both fighters showed considerable respect for the others talents creating a tentative display in the first. All judges scored in favour of Kazakh 10-9.

Buatsi felt the increased urgency in the second round and pressed the pace looking to force the Kazakh to hold his feet and engage but to no avail. The fleet footed and immensely experienced Niazymbetov stayed on the back foot whilst landing repeatedly with his accurate left hand as he had done in the first. Frustration began to tell on the face of Buatsi as he complained of holding from the Kazakh and failed to effectively land many meaningful blows on his opponent. Niazymbetov continued to land his back hand blows whilst using his considerable ring craft to fashion space for himself to move into, and evade the pressure being applied by Buatsi. The judges scored it unanimously in favour of the Kazakh giving him a two point lead heading into the final round.

Round three began with Buatsi knowing he needed a considerable margin now to win, being two points behind on the judges scorecards. He pressed forward and landed a right hand on the Niazymbetov early on but the Kazakh began grappling with Buatsi, holding his arms firmly and keeping himself glued to the South Londoner who tried to shove and shake his opponent off him. The incessant holding continued by the Kazakh with no warning from the referee as Buatsi looked incredibly frustrated by his opponents decision to hold. At brief intervals when the Kazakh broke off Buatsi steamed forward with less caution than he had previously held and landed a few punches on the Kazakh. In the final minute of the bout the holding was resumed and Buatsi complained twice to the referee but still the Kazakh was not warned to stop holding and continued his tactics up to the final bell.

Without having the significant success needed to turn the tide he was against, Buatsi knew as he walked back to his corner in which way the decision would go. The judges awarded Buatsi the final round and the Kazakh a unanimous decision 29-28.

Following his phenomenal run started with his success in the Olympic Qualifier event, to the two TKO victories and his ferocious quarter-final bout, it would be bronze for Buatsi, who whilst did not take the gold medal, has surely set himself up for further success in which ever path he takes in the sport. Undoubtedly a name we will hear for many years to come.

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