Joshua Buatsi links up with US trainer Virgil Hunter, who previously trained Andre Ward and Amir Khan
Joshua Buatsi will now be trained in the US by Virgil Hunter, who oversaw Andre Ward’s legendary career.
Undefeated light-heavyweight contender Buatsi has uprooted for California in search of “a few things that need to be added” by the trainer who also worked in Amir Khan’s corner.
Buatsi told Sky Sports that his decision was about the opportunity to learn from the trainer behind the success of Ward, who retired with a perfect 32-0 record and world titles in two divisions.
“Part of the reason I was here? Yes. Ward got to the highest level and achieved everything and is someone who operated at my weight,” said Buatsi.
“But it’s mainly the style that I like. Each of his fighters translate it differently.
“Ward messaged me to ask where I’m living, where I’m staying. Last time I was here, he came to see me.”
Ward was recognised as the pound-for-pound best boxer in the world during his heyday of a career that included a win over Carl Froch and two victories over the previously-unbeaten Sergey Kovalev.
Buatsi calls Hunter “the primary source” of Ward’s ability and says “it all makes sense” having now worked with the veteran trainer.
He says about his new trainer: “Very calm is the best way to describe him. He is very strategic, he says just enough. He is very, very positive and optimistic.
“If I don’t get something right straight away, it’s not the end of the world. He has the right mindset.
“The public haven’t seen how good I can be, or I will be.
“I want to unlock the potential that I have got. This addition to the team will 100 per cent bring the best out of me.”
Buatsi explained how the link-up with Hunter occurred: “When Anthony Joshua fought Andy Ruiz Jr in New York, I met Virgil. I said: ‘I’ll come and train with you one day’ in the sense that I would learn some bits and pieces then go back.
“That’s where it ended, in June 2019.
“Souleymane Cissokho works with Virgil but we are managed by the same people, 258 Management. My team said to Virgil that I’m ready to come out.
“I came out after my last fight, after the swelling went down, in October 2020 for six weeks. It was new to me but I learned so much.
“I went home to assess. I came to the conclusion that it’s something that needs to be added to my game.
“This is an addition that I needed.”
Buatsi came through the most stringent test of his career so far last October against Marko Calic, suffering damage above his eye but still managing to secure a stoppage win.
His return to the ring is expected to be a headline event in May.
He reflected on a brutal fight with Calic: “I had to back up what I’d been saying. When you have swelling like that, it looks like you’ve taken a beating.
“It made it look worse which I wasn’t happy about. Normally I win a fight without any scratches on my face.
“I have talent but there is also a will to win.
“I will look to put on a performance but, if I need to show my guts again, we’ll do what we need to do.”
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