BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Kirk Garvey makes the first defence of his English light-heavyweight title tonight – but admits he would love a crack at British champion Joshua Buatsi.
Both South Londoners are in action this weekend.
But while Clapham’s Garvey heads to Scunthorpe to defend in Dec Spelman’s home town, Croydon’s Buatsi is in the far more glitzy surroundings of New York’s Madison Square Gardens – part of the undercard to Anthony Joshua’s heavyweight clash with Andy Ruiz Jnr.
Garvey represented England at amateur level and has shared a ring with Buatsi, who has looked a class act since turning professional and signing with top promoter Eddie Hearn.
“We were sparring partners for years and we know each other inside out,” said Garvey, 29.
“If the fight came up then I would definitely take it – 100 per cent.
“It was always a good spar. I’d say he is one of the best fighters to come out of Britain for a long time. But I enjoy testing myself – pitting my skills against other peoples’ skills. I definitely wouldn’t be turning those kind of challenges down.”
Garvey’s record stands at 12 wins and two defeats. He bounced back from losing to Andre Sterling for the vacant Southern Area strap to then win a split decision over Miles Shinkwin for the English belt in March.
“That was the highlight for me so far – after the Sterling fight I was in no man’s land,” said Garvey.
“But then I had another opportunity.
“Now I’ve got to go in there again with the mentality of a challenger, that I’m going in there to win this title.
“I don’t know much about Spelman. I’ve watched him a bit on YouTube – he’s a decent boxer and he can punch a bit with both hands. But I’ve boxed for so long and I’m confident in my boxing skills. I know I’m a better boxer.
“I’m just going to have to box him, that’s the main thing, and not got drawn into swinging with him. If I do that then it gives him half a chance.
“I need to stick to my game plan.”
Garvey wants bigger fights.
“I have done my apprenticeship,” he said. “Body-wise I’m healthy and fit as a fiddle, I’ve got no injuries – so I feel I can go on however long I want.
“But ideally I would make my money over the next couple of years.
“The way boxing is, the sky is the limit. People get offered world title fights and European title fights off winning less than what I have won.
“If I got offered a shot at the Commonwealth or European titles then I would love that. Once you have won a title like that then you are into the world rankings and who knows what comes up next?”
Buatsi, 26, is seen by many as a future world champion.
And there are question marks if he will even hang around at domestic level after almost effortlessly demolishing Liam Conroy for the vacant British title in March.
Buatsi will look to move his record to 11-0 this weekend.
Eight of his 10 wins have been inside the distance.
Olympic bronze medallist Buatsi also holds the WBA international belt and made two defences of that title before adding to his strap collection last time out.
Kirk Garvey picture by Simon Annand