Tema, Ghana born, Joshua Buatsi had the offer of a lifetime to sign for boxing legend, Floyd Mayweather – but education came first.
Mayweather was blown away by Buatsi’s performances in the 2016 Olympics in Rio, where he won bronze for Team GB.
At the time, the light-heavyweight had amazingly juggled his elite amateur boxing career with studying at St Mary’s University in Twickenham.
And he had just one year left to finish by the time Mayweather offered him the chance to put pen to paper on a massive deal.
But Buatsi – who also wanted to announce himself to the British boxing fans – made the call to turn down Mayweather’s approach.
He told SunSport: “Firstly, I had to go back to uni, so I didn’t turn professional straight away and I didn’t at that time fancy going to America like that.
“I wanted to turn pro in England and box in front of English fans but it’s true, Floyd gave me a number and said, ‘If you want to make money, call this number.’
“I said, ‘Thanks.’ As I was walking away again, he said, ‘My man, if you want to make money, call this number.’
“But I was in my last year of uni and I didn’t want to waste it. So, after the games I went back to uni. I knew that I didn’t want to be in the States that early in my career.
“And there were things that I had to do, for example finishing my degree, before making the move so that was quite important for me.
“I’m not saying it was an easy decision but it wasn’t particularly hard for me to say, ‘Let me complete my degree then make the move.’”
Brains and brawn Buatsi later celebrated a 2:1 degree in Management with Sports Science before turning pro with Eddie Hearn in 2017.
And he has been touted as one to watch ever since, racing to a 17-0 record ahead of his next fight – which will be his biggest to date.
Buatsi, 30, prepares to put friendship aside on October 21 to fight good pal Dan Azeez, 34, in a London derby at the O2 Arena.
The winner will be next in line for the WBA title held by Dmitry Bivol, 32, meaning there is more than local bragging rights on the line.
Buatsi said: “It’s my next fight so that makes it the biggest one for me.
“Dan is someone I know but also someone that is in very good form so I need to show up to beat a very good guy.
“I’d say it’s the biggest one yet.”
Credit: Sun Sports