Joshua Buatsi vs. Craig Richards result, highlights and reaction

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THE O2 ARENA, LONDON — Joshua Buatsi kept his unbeaten record in tact (16-0) to move a step closer to a world-title shot after beating Craig Richards (17-3-1) with a unanimous decision victory at London’s O2 Arena.

With south-London pride and a light-heavyweight world-title ambition on the line in Saturday night’s showpiece event, it was Croydon’s Buatsi who got the better of Crystal Palace fighter Richards with the judges scoring the fight 116-112, 115-113, 115-113.

Buatsi, who in the build-up declared Richards his “most important fight to date,” will be now be chomping at the bit for promoter Eddie Hearn to secure him another mammoth fight in a 175lbs division packed with talent.

Dmitry Bivol — the man who handed Richards one of only two defeats of his career on points last year  — currently holds the WBA title, while WBC and IBF champion Artur Beterbiev takes on WBO champion Joe Smith Jr next month.

When you are there you believe in yourself. This guy lives next door to me. He gave me 12 hard rounds. Maximum respect to him,” said Buatsi.

“We want the world title. We’ve made it very clear. We are ready.”

 

Buatsi, who won Olympic bronze in 2016, was taken beyond seven rounds for the first time in his most recent outing against Ricards Bolotniks last year and needed to draw on that experience to take down ‘Spider’.

It was by far a walk in the park for Buatsi who right from the offset looked to be going for the knockout victory that has already defeated 13 of his previous opponents.

However, Richards held firm with his jab throughout and certainly had Buatsi worried on occasions, most notably in the eighth as Buatsi was caught off guard and needed to virtually throw his opponent into the ropes to avoid getting knocked down.

“I did [think I’d won]. I thought I had done enough,” said Richards. “I finished strong but credit to Joshua. A hell of a fighter. I should say thank God for this occasion, thanks to Josh, a good dance partner. We’ve known each other a long time, win lose or draw great respect for him.”

‘Just Business’ may have to wait a while for his next title shot though amid Beterbiev and Smith Jr contesting a unification bout, as well as Bivol potentially re-matching against Alvarez.

However, he’s spoilt for choice in the light-heavyweight division with Callum Johnson, Callum Smith, and Anthony Yarde all hungry for belts.

WATCH: Buatsi vs. Richards live on DAZN

Joshua Buatsi vs Craig Richards live fight updates: as it happened

11:45pm: BUATSI WINS IT

Buatsi does enough to keep his unbeaten record in tact and moves to 16-0 with a unanimous decision victory over Richards. The judges scorecards read 116-112, 115-113, 115-113.

Round 12: They’re beginning to tire. Is there a final knockout punch awaiting one of them? They both land right hooks but bounce back with several body shots. They’re matching each other punch for punch. Into the final 30 seconds and it’s a slug-fest. The bell goes and they touch gloves.

Round 11: Both fighters land some big punches but Richards isn’t happy with Buatsi holding him and the referee has a word. Buatsi does well to get out of a tight space as Richards launches an attack. Richards lands a right hook before Buatsi delivers three quick body shots. Into the final round we go.

Round 10: Buatsi attempts a couple of body shots but the referee tells him to raise his punches as they’re close to below the belt. Buatsi is going for the body shots then moves upstairs. swinging both arms to force his opponent into the ropes. In the process it’s Buatsi’s gum-shield that comes out. Richards stands tall though and finishes the round stronger,

Round 9: Buatsi needed that quick breather and he’s back looking comfortable in the opening minute. A neat one-two from Richards knocks Buatsi’s head back. Another warning sign for Buatsi with the Croydon fighter then resorting back to his one-big punch tactics in the final seconds of the round but proving unsuccessful.

Round 8: As Richards leans close he’s caught with a big right hook. Richards responds with a sharp left hook of his own before a tussle in the corner. Buatsi is caught off guard and Richards unleashes on him as Buatsi virtually throws him into the ropes to stop the flurry of punches coming his way. The crowd loved that and Buatsi suddenly looked in trouble.

Round 7: Richards is lucky a big left hook from Buatsi doesn’t land fully. Little of note follows until the final minute when Richards unleashes a big right that Buatsi absorbs. A disappointing round for both fighters.

Round 6: Buatsi puts all his weight behind a big right swing that connects well. He continues to be dominant with his jab this round before Richards lands a neat one-two combination finishing with an uppercut.

Round 5: Richards is being encouraged to stay on his jab but all of a sudden lands a huge punch over the top, Buatsi responds with a brutal flurry of punches with Richards pinned into the ropes. That attack looks to have taken it out of Buatsi a little but he’s allowed to recover with Richards also catching his breath.

Round 4 Buatsi has Richards in the corner but some neat footwork sees them reverse roles before the referee breaks them up. Buatsi lands a series of fierce body shots as Richards attempts to lean on him. A big left hook from Buatsi excites the crowd but Richards stands firm. Buatsi is certainly looking for the knockout blow. With 10 seconds to go it’s like Babic-Balski as both fighters unload. More of that please.

Round 3: A big right hook from Richards doesn’t trouble Buatsi. Richards is doing his best to keep Buatsi at range and then attacks to deliver Buatsi a slight wobble on his feet. Both fighters land some hefty body shots and it’s Richards who comes out with a bit of showboating as the bell goes with Buatsi struggling to get near him.

Round 2: Chants of ‘Spider’ bellow out but it’s Buatsi who responds to the chants with some fierce hits. Richards goes for an uppercut which loosely connects before Buatsi forces his opponent towards the ropes. Richards continues to probe with his left jab with Buatsi playing the waiting game at present.

Round 1: Richards lands a right jab early on and a few early one-two combinations has Buatsi on the defensive but with 30 seconds to go Buatsi comes alive with a devastating one-two of his own that has Richards pinned on the ropes. Richards manages to escape and Buatsi comes again before the bell.

Hereeeee we go! The time has come. The fight starts NOW.

10:45pm: Buatsi’s in the ring and looking as calm and composed as ever – Hearn looks a little more concerned though. Richards, 32 and three years older than his opponent, starts to make his ring walk now to ‘Forever  Young.’ 

10:34pm: Chantelle Cameron defends her IBF/WBC super bantamweight titles against Victoria Noella Bustos with a unanimous decision victory (100-90, 100-90, 100-90).

The British fighter took control in the early rounds, barely giving her opponent a second to breathe as she followed her every move round the ring but Bustos was equal to most of the punches thrown her way.

A scrappy affair ensued with little to get the crowd on the feet like we saw in the previous fight but nonetheless it’s another win on Cameron’s record.

10:27pm: Into the last round of Cameron vs. Bustos which means it’s almost business time for ‘Just Business’…

10:15pm: Time to start making those final predictions for Buatsi vs. Richards.

10pm: Huge cheers for Chantelle Cameron as she makes her way out to take on Victoria Moelia Bustos. After this one it’s Buatsi and Richards who take to the ring.

9:44pm: Alen Babic beats Adam Balski by unanimous decision (97-91, 97-91, 95-93) in a fight between two absolute warriors. 

Babic boasted a record of 10 fights, 10 KOs going into this one but that record almost came to an abrupt end when Balksi caught him in the opening 30 seconds with a left hook to knock him down. 

Jabs don’t exist in this fight, it’s all about landing that knockout blow as someone shouts out from the crowd “this should be the main event!” It’s hard to disagree. Blink and you miss it.

As the rounds went on both fighters’ legs began to look heavy but Babic continued to pin his opponent against the ropes in search of that killer blow.

Balski certainly won himself no fans with a late, cheap shot after the bell at the end of the ninth that sent Babic wayward into the ropes. Balski was deducted a point for his actions. 

9:00pm: The second fight of the main card sees Ellie Scotney retain her WBA Intercontinental Super-Bantamweight title with a unanimous decision win over Cecilla Roman (100-90, 99-91, 99-91).

Neither woman has ever finished an opponent so it was no surprise they went the distance.

In round eight Scotney knocked Roman down albeit via a push. Roman, 15 years older than Scotney who only turned pro in 2020, desperately needed a KO but in truth that never looked likely throughout.

Scotney calls out Ebanie Bridges immediately after in her post-fight interview.

8:32pm: It’s not quite ‘fast approaching’ given the undercard fights look to be going the distance so far and ring walks still expected to be around 10.30pm BST but Richards certainly looks like a man relaxed back stage.

8:02pm: The main card is well underway with Robbie Davies Jr having just beaten Javier Molina via split decision (94-97, 96-94, 96-94).

Things properly came to life in the seventh round as Molina went through the ropes and out the ring with Davies Jr dominating his opponent as the American took a knee several times. But a round later Davies Jr was praying for the bell after being hit with a huge shot to stumble his way to the end of the round.

Davies Jr kept his composure though and has now won his last three fights, although unlike his previous two being courtesy of knockouts, he was made to work for victory here. 

Judging by Davies Jr’s reaction though you feel he was perhaps a tad lucky to get away with that result.

7.40pm: With the fight billed as a WBA title eliminator, Buatsi believes he’s ready to mix it with the best as he bids to keep his unbeaten record (15-0) in tact.

‘It’s my most important fight to date,’ the 29-year-old said.

‘Why? Because it’s the next one and every fight I want to keep on progressing and winning.

‘It’s just a matter of being ready. I’ve made it clear to these guys I’m ready.’

Rest assured though, Richards has his own dreams and ambitions to rise to the top of the light-heavyweight division.

‘I’m not here to spoil the party, I’m here to fulfil my own dreams and keep moving forward in my career,’ the 32-year-old said.

7.10pm: In need of a video to whet your appetite? If you’re wondering why Buatsi is considered a knockout artist then look no further. Of his 15 fights to date he’s stopped his opponent 13 times.

6:40pm: Hello and welcome to The Sporting News’ live coverage of tonight’s light-heavyweight clash between Buatsi and Richards. We’re in position at London’s 02 Arena in what promises to be one of the biggest British dust-ups of the year as Buatsi puts his unbeaten record on the line against former world-title challenger Richards in the showpiece event of the evening.

MORE: Who is Joshua Buatsi? Pro boxing record, titles won and next fight

Joshua Buatsi vs. Craig Richards fight card

*Undercard will be updated with live results

  • Joshua Buatsi vs Craig Richards
  • Chantelle Cameron bts Victoria Moelia Bustos by unanimous decision
  • Alen Babic bts Adam Balski by unanimous decision
  • Ellie Scotney bts Maria Cecilia Roman by unanimous decision
  • Robbie Davies Jr. bts Javier Molina via split decision

When is Joshua Buatsi vs. Craig Richards? 

  • Date: Saturday, May 21
  • Start time: 7p.m. BST | 2 p.m. ET 
  • Main event: 10:15 p.m. BST | 5:15 p.m. ET (approximate) 

Joshua Buatsi vs. Craig Richards will take place Saturday, May 21. The main card is expected to start at 7 p.m. BST | 2 p.m. ET. Buatsi and Richards should make their way to the ring around 10:15 p.m. BST | 5:15 p.m. ET, depending on how long the undercard fights last. 

How to watch Joshua Buatsi vs. Craig Richards

The prelims and the main card for Joshua Buatsi vs. Craig Richards will be available through the DAZN app. 

Joshua Buatsi record and bio

  • Nationality: British
  • Born: March 14, 1993
  • Height: 6-2
  • Reach: 74.5 inches
  • Total fights: 15
  • Record: 15-0 (13 KOs)

Craig Richards record and bio 

  • Nationality: English
  • Born: April 30, 1990
  • Height: 6-1
  • Reach: 73 inches
  • Total fights: 20
  • Record: 17-2-1 (10 KOs)

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