email@example.com (Chris McKenna)
Joshua Buatsi has had to delay his post-fight food binge until Monday as he prepares for a Sunday showdown with Marko Calic.
But the man with an appetite to reach the top insists 14 months out of the ring won’t hurt his rise.
Unbeaten Buatsi, 27, takes on Croatian challenger Calic in his 13th professional outing at Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes tomorrow.
It is his first fight in over a year after illness ruled him out of an October outing in 2019 and then the COVID-19 pandemic brought sport to a halt.
But the 2016 Olympic bronze medallist tipped for the top has no worries about the delay.
He said: “14 months sounds quite long isn’t it? It has been over a year and I’m itching to get back in it.
“There’s been two camps that fights didn’t materialise. Nothing has been wasted.”
Buatsi was one of the stars of Rio 2016 which saw him snapped up by promoter Eddie Hearn after he finished his studies at St Mary’s University in management with sports science.
He was also signed up by Anthony Joshua’s management group which means he has a direct line to the world heavyweight champion.
The Croydon fighter said: “I think some conversations with Josh I’m like, ‘Damn you see the magnitude of the fight, how do you deal with that?’.
“I do ask him about that and the approaches he takes.”
Buatsi has felt all eyes have been on him even before he joined GB Boxing and went to the Olympics but it is what fires him up.
He said: “If there wasn’t pressure it would be weird. It is what gets me up to run, to do this and not eat what I want to eat and do what I want to do.”
If he beats Calic as expected tomorrow, questions will again turn to all-British clashes with world title challengers Callum Johnson and Anthony Yarde.
“The Johnson one would be the easier one to make because we have the same promoters,” he said.
“The Yarde one would be the biggest because that is the one I get asked about the most when I meet people.”
But first on the menu for Buatsi will be a feast after a strict diet to make 12st 7lb after promoter Hearn opted for a Sunday show in a bid to bring in big viewing figures after a day of football on Sky.
“It is proper weird to fight on a Sunday,” added Buatsi.
“Usually you will fight Saturday and do your binge eating on Sunday. But it is going to have to be Monday this time.”