By Declan Taylor


TALKS are already well underway to agree a summer blockbuster between Anthony Yarde and Joshua Buatsi, Boxing News understands.

Yarde is set to face Marko Nikolic at the Copper Box Arena on Saturday night and his fellow Londoner Buatsi will be ringside to see it.

And should Yarde beat the 34-year-old Serb without any problems, it is understood that the pair are set to fight each other next. The o2 Arena has proved difficult to secure for this summer so it will likely land at the 11,000 capacity Wembley Arena, with a June or July date in the works.

Although Warren and Queensberry have been instrumental in the emergence of Saudi Arabia as one of the world’s key markets, there is still a commitment to ensure the product back home remains as strong as possible and Yarde-Buatsi would be a clear indicator of that.

Yarde’s long-term promoter Frank Warren has made no secret of his desire to make the fight, which has been talked about for the best part of six years. And, with Artur Beterbiev and Dmitrii Bivol scheduled to fight for all the light-heavyweight world titles on June 1, Warren has no intention of waiting around for the result of that. Instead, he has already made contact with Buatsi’s promoter Boxxer in a bid to set up one of British boxing’s most long-awaited fights.

Buatsi came through his London derby with previously undefeated Lewisham favourite Dan Azeez earlier this month at Wembley so is now on the same timeline as Yarde. And as long as nothing goes wrong at the Copper Box, sources have told Boxing News that there is a genuine confidence that they will now fight next.

Yarde had suggested that he may look to box again in the summer before potentially fighting Buatsi for a vacant world title, should the winner of Beterbiev-Bivol choose to relinquish one of their belts.

He has also been linked with a fight with Callum Smith, a Matchroom fighter, and a clash between them has been suggested for the June 1 Warren vs. Eddie Hearn tournament. However, there is now a desire on both sides to finally match Yarde and Buatsi and talks are progressing well.

Yarde told Boxing News: “I want to fight at least three or four times this year. I know it sounds like a big ask but if I go out and get an early win in this fight I want to stay focused and fight again ASAP.

“We’ve had meetings about several opponents but obviously right now the fight that makes the most sense in terms of making a lot of money, it’s a big British clash, is the Buatsi fight.

“I think it’s definitely close. We’ve met face to face a few times and we both want the fight. It’s about both of us getting the right deal.”

It is still unclear which network the fight will be shown on but Warren has previously suggested that a fight of such significance could theoretically be broadcast on both TNT Sports, his broadcast partner, and Sky, the platform on which Buatsi boxes.