Joshua Buatsi is very much his own man and his own fighter.
But as he prepares to make his professional debut against Carlos Mena at London’s O2 Arena on Saturday, the comparisons with his compatriot Anthony Joshua are hard to ignore.
Both are softly-spoken but hard-hitting. Both came through Britain’s famed amateur system and turned professional on the back of Olympic success. And both can win a world title within 16 fights, according to promoter Eddie Hearn.
Olympian Joshua Buatsi begins his professional career at London’s O2 Arena this Saturday
The 24-year-old has been compared to his compatriot, mentor and manager Anthony Joshua
Joshua – the unified heavyweight champion – has ‘brought hope’ to UK boxing, Buatsi claims
As the likes of Audley Harrison have shown, however, being dubbed the next incarnation of an elite predecessor can be an albatross around a fighter’s neck, the pre-cursor to inevitable anti-climax.
Buatsi will make his debut on a packed night of British boxing featuring:
Frank Buglioni vs Ricky Summers
Matthew Ryan vs Ted Cheeseman
Reece Bellotti vs Jamie Speight
Isaac Chamberlain vs Ryan Crawford
Russ Henshaw vs Lawrence Okolie
But Buatsi, an Olympic light heavyweight bronze medallist with a big reputation, is making no attempt to escape Joshua’s shadow. The pair have been training together and the 24-year-old Buatsi is being managed by the heavyweight king’s ‘AJ Boxing’ in the paid ranks.
‘He has brought hope and he has set a path and a standard to show to all of us, you know what, it can be achieved. It is possible,’ he tells Sportsmail ahead of his professional bow on a packed night of British boxing.
‘It’s really good to be working with Josh. He’s been through the Olympic programme and as a professional he has got everything right.
‘So having the same team that manage him do it with me is a good move. They have had experiences that they can guide me with.’
Buatsi has taken longer than most of his Rio 2016 counterparts to join the professional ranks, taking time to complete university before following the likes of Josh Kelly and Lawrence Okolie into the Matchroom stable.
Buatsi and Mena pose for pictures following their weigh-in ahead of Saturday’s clash in London
The British fighter impressed in winning light heavyweight bronze at the Rio Olympic Games
The 24-year-old poses with promoter Eddie Hearn ahead of his professional debut in the ring
But if he wants to emulate his mentor, he can ill-afford to waste any more time. Within four years and 19 fights of winning Olympic gold at London 2012, Joshua had become the unified heavyweight champion of the world and cemented his place at the top of the sport with a stunning eleventh-round stoppage of Wladimir Klitschko.
For now though, ‘eight fights, eight wins, hopefully eight KOs’ is Buatsi’s target for his first year in the professional game. Then, he hopes, the belts will soon follow.
Like his mentor, however, Buatsi isn’t interested in making predictions or promises. Following his explosive Olympic performances, and months of hype surrounding his move to the paid ranks, the London fighter is finally ready to let his fists do the talking.
‘The talk is easy man, there has been a lot of talking but it’s time to fight,’ he says.
‘Any fighter can talk, it’s about going in there, performing and winning,’ he adds.
‘Ultimately boxing is what got me here so I know I need to go back to the boxing for this to carry on.’