Joshua Buatsi's trainer urges caution with British fighter

Joshua Buatsi’s trainer urges caution with British fighter, insisting he is not ready for Canelo Alvarez or Dimitry Bivol after gruelling Craig Richards win

  • Joshua Buatsi beats Craig Richards by a unanimous decision after tough fight
  • Buatsi showed Richards the ultimate respect after the fight by kissing his gloves
  • Eddie Hearn had reeled off a list of potential fights for Buatsi next but Virgil Hunter urged caution
  • Hunter says Buatsi is the ‘second best’ fighter he has worked with after Andre Ward 

Respect. That sometimes misused term in boxing was the first to spring to mind as Joshua Buatsi made the extraordinary gesture of crouching down to kiss the gloves of Craig Richards after defeating him in their minor epic of a fight on Saturday night.

Respect: that was the tribute Buatsi paid to his local rival for his gallant performance at the O2.

Buatsi was thanking the opponent who has lived so long in his shadow for giving him the kind of fight he needs if he is to fulfil his apparent destiny of winning a world light-heavyweight title. This is the first time Buatsi has been taken to 12 rounds.

Joshua Buatsi earned a unanimous decision win against Craig Richards on Saturday night

As promoter Eddie Hearn reeled off the candidates to be his man’s next opponents, Buatsi’s esteemed American trainer Virgil Hunter tempered praise with muted words of caution.

Canelo Alvarez. Dmitry Bivol, the Russian who has just deposed Mexico’s world No 1. Artur Berteviev, the iron ruler of the light-heavy division. Nuclear puncher Gennady Golovkin.

Not so fast said Hunter: ‘There are things to work on when we get back to San Francisco.

‘Joshua is the second best fighter I’ve worked with after Andre Ward. Better even than Amir Khan because he doesn’t have the same issues with total focus and dedication.

‘But if you ask me if he’s ready for Canelo or Bivol next I have to say not quite.’

Promoter Eddie Hearn says Bivol, who beat Canelo Alvarez this month, could come next

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