Joshua Buatsi needs to defend his position when he boxes Pawel Stepien next month.
Buatsi is the ranked no. 1 light-heavyweight with the WBA and is on the cusp of a world title shot.
But regardless he insists he will be “the hunter” when he fights Stepien on May 6 at the Resorts World Arena in Birmingham, live on Sky Sports.
Poland’s Stepien is dangerous. He’s undefeated in 19 professional bouts and has stopped 12 of those opponents inside the distance.
“Every time I step in the aim is to be dominant,” Buatsi told Sky Sports. “It’s always my aim. That’s the sport that we’re in.
“I’m not much of a trashtalker,” he added. “I’m quite aware that when I get in the ring this is my time to actually make a statement.
“I’m very much aware that when it’s time to fight I always have to show up.”
But making an emphatic statement against the Pole will be an arduous task. Stepien has ambitions of his own. An international amateur boxer, as a pro he has climbed to no. 6 in the IBF world ratings at 175lbs.
“He boxed at a good level for his country. I saw a bout of him in the World Series of Boxing,” Buatsi said of his next opponent.
“For me I think to represent a country or a nation at that level, you must have been good for them to choose you. So I think he’s someone who’s got good amateur pedigree and recently he was meant to fight Callum Smith.
“So if you’re willing to fight the likes of Smith and being in camp already for that fight, which was meant to be earlier on [in March] then he’ll be in good shape. I think he’s a good opponent.”
Buatsi has been waiting for his chance to return to action. He has not boxed since beating Craig Richards in May of last year.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve been in the ring so I’m looking forward to being back out there, getting the smaller gloves on,” he said.
“The feeling that you feel when it’s going to be a real fight, you can only get so much of it in training. The feeling when you’re in your changing room when they knock and say Buatsi you’re on in five minutes, two minutes time now, you’ve got to do the walk, it’s live.
“Going through that whole process I’ve missed it so I’m looking forward to that.”
His world ranking, his future title hopes, Buatsi knows he is risking all that against Stepien.
“I always believe that when we step in the ring, everything’s on the line. Every fight that I’ve had I’ve always thought that,” he said.
“I think this one is the same. I believe a lot is at stake and I’m always willing to defend it. Just go in there and make sure I’m the hunter.”
He continued: “My aim is to win most importantly but if you can put on a show for the people to enjoy, to go home and say as always there were good fights but this fight stood out. This guy was a good fighter, great knockout, great win, whatever it is, I think it’s important to leave with that perception in their mind.
“Whatever it is, whatever it takes to win, my intention is to make sure I go in there and get it.”