Light heavyweight Buatsi must defeat an unbeaten fighter to extend his record to 13-0-0 and Betfair's Frankie Monkhouse recommends backing him to do it early in his look at the betting...
"Buatsi is a major leap up in class from what Calic is used to and that should become obvious early on."
Busy time for boxing
One of the hottest properties in British boxing returns to action this weekend when Joshua Buatsi takes on Marko Calic on Sunday. This will be the second live televised card of the week on Sky Sports as the noble art's fightback gathers pace.
The WBA International light heavyweight title will be on the line in this bout as the unbeaten fighters aim to secure another important win and continue their push for major honours. Buatsi is hot favourite on the Betfair Sportsbook but he can't afford to take his eye off the ball against an opponent who brings a dangerous knockout percentage.
Buatsi boasts a perfect 12-fight record
The 2016 Olympic Games bronze medallist Buatsi made his bow at the O2 Arena back in the summer of 2017 with a second-round TKO win over Carlos Mena. That gave fight fans a taste of what to expect from the 6ft 2inch light heavyweight who has had no troubles adjusting his style to suit the demand of the professional game.
The 27-year-old from Croydon takes on his latest challenge with a record detailing a dozen wins from as many outings with 10 of those victories coming inside the distance. He has won a clutch of respected titles while making his way through the division and is currently ranked number one in the UK at the weight and 14th in a global list dominated by Sergey Kovalev.
Buatsi was last seen just over 12 months ago when beating Canada's Ryan Ford in the seventh round of a bout scheduled for 10, defending his WBA International title in the process. Ford was taken out by a perfectly executed body shot and Joshua's form means the Betfair traders aren't taking any chances opposing him. Buatsi is as tight as 1/33 in the fight winner market on the sportsbook and 2/9 for the KO/TKO. The points win will net backers 7/2.
Calic unbeaten in 11 previous starts
Calic takes on the unenviable task of trying to stop his opponent's rise to the very top of the division but he too is a former amateur champion and unbeaten in the paid ranks. The 33-year-old from Marcana, Croatia, has won each of his first 11, bagging six without the help of the scoring judges, resulting in a 55% KO average.
He may have a pristine record to date but Calic hasn't been tested anywhere near as much as the man starting in the opposite corner and that can be seen in his current rankings. He's second in Croatia behind Emil Markic and outside of the top 150 fighters at light heavyweight in the world. A win over Buatsi would change all that, forcing Marko up through the charts, but it would take a career best performance for him to achieve it.
The 6ft 3inch orthodox boxer was last seen winning an eight-round decision over Poland's Serhii Zhuk who had lost more than he had won before stepping into the ring. That bout was last October and it's far from ideal preparation for a meeting with Buatsi. Calic has been written off as a bit of a no hoper here with 12/1 available on the Betfair Sportsbook in the fight winner betting.
Another early night
On paper this looks to be a cracking match-up involving two unbeaten prospects on their way to the top of the division.
On closer inspection, however, the CV of Calic doesn't quite stand up.
His last three opponents had a combined record of 37 wins against 31 defeats and three draws. Compare that to Buatsi's last three with 52-8-1.
Buatsi is a major leap up in class from what Calic is used to and that should become obvious early on. Looking at the favourite's recent form we note he has won his last seven by KO/TKO before the end of the seventh round. Two of his last three wins have come inside four.
Another early night could be on the cards with Buatsi in rounds 3-4 worth a second look at 7/2 (Sportsbook).