Shalom Reveals Buatsi ‘Looking At Other Opportunities’ As Talks With Yarde Stall

May 3, 2024
3 weeks
Joshua Buatsi and Anthony Yarde had verbally agreed to a fight

Promoter Ben Shalom has revealed Joshua Buatsi is “looking at other opportunities” after admitting talks with British rival Anthony Yarde have stalled.

Buatsi (18-0-0 13 KO) and Yarde (25-3-0 24 KO) have been expected to fight each other next. The light-heavyweight rivals made a verbal agreement following Yarde’s third-round victory over Marko Nikolic in February.

From there, agreeing and signing contracts was thought to be a formality, but the lack of an announcement in recent weeks raised concerns that negotiations were not going as smoothly as hoped.

Now Buatsi’s promoter Shalom has admitted that his fighter is weighing up his options and that fighting Yarde next might not happen.

Shalom ‘Gutted’ Deal Has Not Been Done Yet

“It takes two to tango,” said Shalom. “Look, I’m gutted we haven’t got the Yarde fight over the line yet. It’s a kick in the teeth as we’ve got a lot of British fights done this year and that’s another one, that’s a monster, and to not get that, and to not have that yet, it’s frustrating to me.

“It’s frustrating to Josh. It’s a fight we wanted. I’m still hopeful, but we are looking at other opportunities now.”

One of those potential opportunities could be to fight the winner of the undisputed world title fight between Artur Beterbiev and Dimitry Bivol.

WBC, WBO, and IBF champion Beterbiev takes on WBA title holder Bivol in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on June 1. There is the potential of a rematch, but Buatsi is the mandatory challenger to both Beterbiev’s WBC and WBO titles and Bivol’s WBA belt.

The Londoner earned his No 1 ranking at 175lbs following a thrilling points win over Dan Azeez in February.

Buatsi In Line For Title Shot

Yarde, meanwhile, is also ranked close to the top of all four light-heavyweight rankings – third in the WBC, WBA, and WBO, and fifth by the IBF – and will be aiming for another shot at a world title.

The Londoner has fought for world titles once before, coming up short against Beterbiev in an eighth-round stoppage, but he gave the champion a good challenge up until the knockout.

It’s curious that talks between Buatsi and Yarde have stalled when both fighters made it clear they wanted the fight.

The interest from British fight fans is certainly there, which means there should be enough money on the table to satisfy the demands of Buatsi and Yarde.

Buatsi Urges Yarde To ‘Make It Happen’

It seems the issues are being caused on Yarde’s side, at least based on a recent interview Buatsi gave to Sky Sports.

“What’s going on? We’ve got a venue. A stadium. We’ve got a date. What’s the delay? What’s happening? I’m out here working. Let’s go, June 15, let’s make it happen,” Buatsi said three weeks ago.

Yarde’s promoter Frank Warren admitted that it was his fighter that’s yet to commit to the contract, saying: “We’re going to impose a deadline on it. I would think by the end of this week one way or another. And if not we move on to something else.

“The state of play is we’re still negotiating. Buatsi’s agreed terms and we’re still negotiating with Anthony. I wouldn’t want to pressure anybody. Either you want to fight. Or you don’t.”