Promoter Lou DiBella on Tuesday won the IBF purse bid for the light heavyweight title elimination fight between Joshua Buatsi and former champion Jean Pascal.
DiBella, now representing Pascal, bid $975,000 to easily outpace an offer of $875,000 made by Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn, Buatsi’s promoter.
Buatsi is entitled to the lion’s share of a 60-40 purse split, meaning he would receive $585,000 for the fight and Pascal would get $390,000.
DiBella has 90 days to put on the fight, meaning it would likely take place by the end of November. The winner of the fight will become one of the mandatory challenger’s for three-belt world champion Artur Beterbiev.
There’s a strong possibility that DiBella will make a deal with British promoter Frank Warren to put the fight on in England with BT Sport, Warren’s broadcaster, but DiBella said he also there is interest from Sky Sports, which is also heavily involved in boxing in the United Kingdom. Buatsi, as a Matchroom Boxing fighter, used to fight on Sky Sports and now fights on DAZN.
“I have a long relationship with (Pascal manager) Greg Leon and with Pascal and they came to me and asked for assistance on this purse bid and to work with them,” DiBella told Big Fight Weekend. “So, I agreed and I bid a number I felt was fair market value. The interesting thing to me is you’d think this was a more valuable fight to Matchroom and DAZN because of they have Buatsi, the young guy who’s supposed to have the big future. I didn’t necessarily believe I’d win the bid. I just believed at this number $975,000) I’m happy to have it.”
DiBella said he planned to talk to Top Rank, which promotes Beterbiev, to gauge its interest in obtaining United States rights to the fight for ESPN+ and that it likely would go on pay-per-view in Pascal’s native Canada.
Buatsi (16-0, 13 KOs), 29, who was 2016 Olympic bronze medalist for Great Britain, is coming off a competitive decision win over former world title challenger Craig Richards on May 21.
On May 20, Pascal (36-6-1, 20 KOs), 39, of Montreal, returned from a 17-month layoff due to a suspension for multiple failed tests for performance-enhancing drugs and outpointed then-unbeaten Meng Fanlong.
“Pascal had a bump in the road that was his own fault and he’s over it,” DiBella said of Pascal’s failed drug tests.
“And Pascal’s fight with Meng was terrific to watch. We know he’s one of biggest warriors out there. His mistakes are behind him and he looks forward to fighting Buatsi for a chance to become a champion again.”
Pascal has won three fights in a row against Marcus Browne, former titlist Badou Jack and Meng since a one-sided decision loss challenging WBA titlist Dmitry Bivol in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in November 2018.