Matchroom’s Nov. 2 card from Manchester Arena will feature Katie Taylor seeking a world title in a second weight class, plus the farewell fight of longtime lightweight contender Anthony Crolla in Crolla’s hometown.
But the card is packed with more UK names, including light heavyweight Joshua Buatsi making his return against Blake Caparello, and Felix Cash defending the Commonwealth middleweight title against Jack Cullen.
Buatsi (12-0, 10 KO) is a rising name in the 175-pound ranks. The 26-year-old won the British light heavyweight title in March of this year, but has given it up as he’s not looking to fight domestic names going forward. He’s won two fights since winning that British title, which he didn’t defend, beating Marco Antonio Periban on the Joshua-Ruiz card on Jun. 1, and Ryan Ford on the Aug. 31 Lomachenko-Campbell bill in London.
Caparello (30-3-1, 13 KO) is a 33-year-old Australian veteran, probably best known for losses to Sergey Kovalev, Andre Dirrell, and Isaac Chilemba. The southpaw isn’t a bad fighter, but has proven less than true world level in his attempts to step up.
Buatsi is carefully moving toward the higher levels of a division that is currently absolutely stacked at the top, and really has a very solid top 20 or so worldwide, which Buatsi may be starting to creep into already.
That said, he says he won’t overlook Caparello, and that he’s not getting ahead of himself.
“Every fight is important to me, I don’t take them lightly. I concentrate and I think about things over and over for hours so I will be doing the same for this fight, so come Nov. 2, I will be in there ready to fight and to win,” Buatsi said.
“When I am in there I am there to win, outside of the ring I am a cool, calm guy but in there you have to be a savage and I am very good at being that. When I get in there I will do what I need to do to win. I just hope the Manchester fans embrace and welcome me, I’m looking forward to it.”
Cash (11-0, 7 KO) is a 26-year-old fighter who won the vacant Commonwealth 160-pound title on Feb. 2, stopping Rasheed Abolaji in the opening round. But it’ll be nine months since his last fight when he gets out on Nov. 2. He sees Cullen (17-1, 8 KO), who is 6’3” at 160 pounds, as a good return foe.
“This is the perfect fight for me to come back and show everybody how good I am. He is tall and he is awkward but I do believe he has never been in with a man or a fighter like me of my calibre,” Cash said. “No disrespect to him but he has been chinned before and I plan on doing the same, he is a decent fighter but there is levels in boxing and I believe that I am levels above him.
“It’s always been real, every fight you get in to it doesn’t matter if you’re a favourite to win it is the same mentality, win at all costs. That is what I intend to do, this is boxing and I have been fighting since I was a child so it’s noting new to me. It doesn’t matter what stage it is or how many fans he has got, it’s only going to be me and him inbetween them four ropes and I’m going to show him that there is levels.”
Cullen, 25, has one of boxing’s best nicknames — “Little Lever’s Meat Cleaver” — and has won twice this year, beating Jack Sellars for the English middleweight title on May 11 at the Bolton Whites Hotel, then defending successfully against John Harding Jr on Aug. 2 in Liverpool on a much bigger card. Cullen, obviously, is looking to really break out in this matchup.
“It’s a big opportunity for me and this is the fight that I want against Felix Cash for the Commonwealth title,” he said. “I am really looking forward to it, training is going well and everything is bang on. Felix Cash is a tough, strong lad so I’m expecting a good fight. There will be more support than we saw for me in Liverpool for this fight and my fans are mad, it’s going to be a good show. These are the fights that I want so I am looking forward to it.”