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  • Joshua Buatsi Maintains No Contender Status With Big Win Over Pawel Stepien

Joshua Buatsi maintains No 1 contender status with big win over Pawel Stepien

Joshua Buatsi held off a strong challenge from Pawel Stepien to claim an important win and keep hold of his status as the WBA's No 1 ranked light-heavyweight contender.

Buatsi did not get the win by knockout but did receive a convincing one-sided decision from the judges, who scored him the unanimous winner at 97-94. 98-92 and 100-90.
Buatsi took a huge risk in agreeing to fight Stepien as he gains almost nothing and put his No 1 contender status on the line but came through unscathed and underlined his title credentials in a big way.
Despite ending up the victor, Buatsi had not fought for almost a full year before the bout and he was very rusty at the get-go.
Once some of the cobwebs had been shaken off, he looked like a different fighter and was able to control the fight with some well-placed jabs to keep Stepien where he wanted him.
Stepien took a very aggressive approach whereas Buatsi built up combinations to overpower his opponent.
The British boxer didn't have it all his way, though, as Stepien fired plenty of warning shots and was able to break through Buatsi's defences on several occasions.
Ultimately, the man from Croydon won but admits he had been able to claim a more emphatic victory.

"I do wish I knocked him out but you know what? We got the win. Ten rounds in the bank," he told Sky Sports "I haven't boxed in almost a year, so it was nice to get the rounds in.

"There was ring rust and all of that stuff, but that wasn't on my mind. In there, I said 'Stepien, I've got 10 rounds to get you out of here'. Credit to him, he did well, a good fighter but I got the win.
"He's skilful. I'm not sure what he looked like from the outside, but from the inside, he's skilful.
"Maybe like a five [out of 10]. It was average. But the thing is if I'd lost, the whole dynamic would be different here so I'm going to dwell on the win.
"I want a big fight. I'll be honest with you, I'm very disappointed I didn't get Stepien out of there. The crowd and everything was live, I wanted to entertain, give them it back. But I want a big fight."

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