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Joshua Buatsi wins London thriller with Craig Richards

Buatsi wins London thriller with Richards
© Reuters
Joshua Buatsi edges out Craig Richards on points to win their all-British light-heavyweight contest at the O2 Arena.

Joshua Buatsi moves to the brink of an opportunity to fight for a light-heavyweight world title by beating domestic rival Craig Richards in a thrilling fight at the O2 Arena.

While Buatsi has long been tipped to win global honours in the paid ranks, Richards has almost come up on the blindside, his performance during defeat to Dmitry Bivol last year promoting him to the fringes of world level.

Both fighters went into Saturday's bout with supreme confidence and there was not one of the 12 rounds which could not be deemed competitive as the pair frequently went toe to toe.

However, Buatsi was coming out on top in the more of the exchanges and although Richards could argue that he had plenty of success, Buatsi was having marginally more.

Richards enjoyed a strong eighth and had his moments down the stretch, but in a contest where both men showed a high boxing IQ, Buatsi's sharper jab and spitefulness was the difference maker.

The scorecards read 116-112, 115-113 and 115-113 all in favour of Buatsi, with promoter Eddie Hearn suggesting after the fight that he may try to match the Olympic bronze medallist with WBA champion Bivol.

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