OLYMPIC bronze medallist Joshua Buatsi will have just the second contest of his professional career on Friday (September 1) at York Hall. While he is expected to handle Frenchman Baptiste Castegnaro with aplomb the Croydon man has been preparing diligently.

“Three threes training was nice. It was in and out. This time you’re spending a longer time in the gym. It’s good work because we’re preparing for the 12 rounds. That’s the championship rounds and I want to be a champion so I’m preparing for those rounds,” he told Boxing News.

“Whenever I walk into the gym I always treat myself as a novice because I’m willing and I’m ready to learn. I don’t walk in as an Olympic medallist or a ‘Mr. Know It All’. I go in the gym as a novice and I’m ready to soak it all up. Soak up anything I’m going to be taught. If someone’s teaching something in the gym or someone has an opinion about something I like to listen to it because I can filter it out with what’s going to work and what isn’t going to work for myself.

“Every time I walk into the gym I’m a novice. I’m willing to learn and I’m willing to soak up everything that I’m going to be taught.”

He has been training and sparring at different gyms, including getting rounds in with bigger men like cruiserweight Lawrence Okolie and GB heavyweight Cheavon Clarke. It dispels the idea that he could move down from light-heavyweight to super-middle. “Mainly people that don’t know me on the internet are saying Buatsi you can do super-mid. They don’t realise how big my head is and how big my thighs are. They just look at my upperbody, which looks like the upper body of a welterweight,” he said. “I’ve been doing light-heavy for years.”

This training camp was interrupted by a working visit to Jamaica, as part of a documentary, where heavyweight legend Lennox Lewis mentored Buatsi. “When I got there I was training the next day, I was training the next morning,” Joshua said. “A few pads sessions, a few bag session. I was there running.

“Nice country, nice people where I was. Just thankful to Lennox again for the time that he had and the experiences that he shared with me, the knowledge and everything. It was good.”

Lewis shared technical expertise with him as well as industry advice. “In terms of the boxing he was talking about the jab a lot, all the time,” Buatsi said. “Every time the jab, the jab, the jab. He’s really technical, that’s another thing about him. Where he is now and how long he’s been retired, he’s still got the moves.”

He added, “About the business it was: ‘Always know what’s going on.’ The quote I don’t like, what people say is ‘we want you to concentrate just on the training and we’ll do everything else.’ I’m like no, don’t say that to me. Don’t tell me that. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that the training has to be done but in my down time or spare time or whatever I’m learning about the business.”

Joshua Buatsi

Boxing – Joshua Buatsi vs Carlos Mena – London, Britain – July 1, 2017 Joshua Buatsi in action with Carlos Mena Action Images/Andrew Couldridge

“My goals and aims remain the same, it’s to win and to win and to win. Whoever’s infront I have to beat them, to just keep progressing on,” he concluded.

“I have to prove myself. When opportunities come, I’ll take them.”