instagram envelope_alt facebook twitter search youtube_play whatsapp remove external_link loop2 arrow-down2

Q&A with Joshua Buatsi

Bish-bash Josh: Buatsi is eager to get back to work PICTURE: GETTY

The British light heavyweight and Olympic boxing bronze medallist on his new-found love of board games while being stuck indoors

What are you up to during the coronavirus pandemic which has put boxing on hold for now?

I am running a lot and I’m also cycling. Actually, I have found something new as I’m doing walks as well. I also did my 2.6 Challenge for WaterAid at the weekend, doing squats for two minutes, six seconds while carrying my eight-year-old cousin Zaza on my shoulders!

What else is going to help you pass the next few weeks and maybe months?

I should read more. I’ve discovered Scrabble recently and that other game… Trivial Pursuit? I’m playing them with the family and beating them all the time.

When did you realise the sport would be paused so abruptly?

I got a message from (promoter) Eddie Hearn saying my fight on March 28 at the O2 was off. I had expected it to be off but I can’t single myself out in terms of what’s going on as it is happening to everybody.

Bold shoulder: Buatsi and Zaza

Are you able to do much in the way of actual boxing training?

I shadow-box indoors. People have sent me some gym equipment but I’ve been too lazy to unpack it so far. I should do that really. The pandemic is a mental challenge for us all but everything will go back to normal.

Is it going to be a race to get shows back on soon?

Suddenly, there will be an announcement of a show and when there is, it will be about who’s ready at the time and who can get the fights lined up first. I hope I’m going to be in the sort of shape where I’m almost ready to go when the time is right and it could be that it is behind closed doors.

Do you think fans will flood back to the sport?

I don’t think everyone would just go out straight away and be part of a crowd of 20,000 people at the O2. People will be cautious and rightly so. I would wait myself if I was a fan but progressively things will open up again and hopefully we’ll be selling out big venues again before too long.

Do you worry about the impact of this on yourself and other fighters?

Yeah, some fighters only make money when they fight. Luckily, I have good sponsors to look after me but not every boxer has that and these are hard times. I definitely count myself lucky but it’s important for all fighters to box first of all, and then win, and that won’t change whenever boxing resumes.

With the Olympics off this year, have you spoken to any of your former Great Britain team-mates about Tokyo?

Guys like Galal Yafai, Cheavon Clarke, Frazer Clarke — they’re my boys. I said to them they have to stay on it and remain positive, don’t over-think it. The Olympics will still happen [next year] and I’m always someone they can lean on if they’re down or they need to talk about the situation.