Joshua Buatsi is an athlete with the whole world in his dangerously fast hands. After starring for his nation at the Olympic Games two years ago, the light heavyweight is unbeaten in eight professional fights and quickly rising – but the 25-year-old is driven by something deeper than glory.
Joshua is someone who's passionate about his community. He grew up in Croydon after arriving from Ghana at a young age and is something of a local legend, having broke out of London's "lone borough" to achieve amazing things. Now, in a new partnership with Nike, Buatsi has just launched the 'Nike Training Camp Croydon' to provide 16-weeks free training to 50 young people in and around the area. Those who finish the course earn a Level 3 PT qualification and the chance to lead a new gen of athletes from the ground up.
It's his dedication to a project like this that marks Joshua Buatsi as someone who moves on a different wave to other athletes. He paves his own path and speaks to his "lone wolf" mentality as an attitude essential to his success. To tell his story, Complex connected with Nike and Gabriel Moses on a short film that explores the motivations of British boxing's next big thing.
Watch the film at the top of the page and scroll down to read Joshua Buatsi's interpretation of faith, family and community in his own words.
Check out what else is going on with Nike LDN here.
Joshua Buatsi on Croydon:
"I moved to Croydon from Ghana aged 10, so it was my first exposure to London and Londoners. The town and the people have taught me so much and even now, I’m still learning. Croydon is full of talent and I’ve met so many gifted people over the years. It was on the streets of Croydon where I first realised I also had a talent and it gave me the support I needed to harness that talent and push me to where I am today. I’ve met all kinds of people here and its moulded who I am today - how we talk, how we dress, how we act. My community is everything - I like to treat everyone with respect, to be welcome and to embrace them."
Joshua Buatsi on being a "lone wolf":
"I stand for separating myself from the crowd. I have the mentality of a lone wolf. You must always remember that you’re an individual and everything comes from within yourself. In that ring, I enter with my trainers – my close friends are there – but when the referee says “seconds out” everyone steps out. It’s all down to me.
I think you need to know where you’re going and how to get there – look at the crowds of people that you’re with and if they’re going in a different direction, you have to separate yourself and make your own path."
Joshua Buatsi on faith:
"Faith is believing in something you cannot see. Before a fight, you need to have faith – you’ve done all the preparation that you need to and you’ve visualised the fight in your head over and over again. We all train hard at this level, but for me faith is the extra touch – that icing on the cake – faith is everything to me, it’s a favour from God for me to be successful in my fights and in everything that I do.
In the Bible there’s a scripture where God says to Joshua, “wherever the sole of your feet touches, I’ll make your territory”. When I’m in the premises of where I’m fighting, that’s my territory. The moment my feet touches the canvas I instantly think this is mine, the stage has been set and it’s mine to take."
Joshua Buatsi on family:
"There’s a lot of people that aren’t blood to me but they’re my family. They’re family because of what they did for me, or what we experienced together. There’s a lot of people that are my dads, they’re my mums, they’re my brothers and my sisters. I stand by the belief that blood doesn’t make you family."
Joshua Buatsi on inspiring the next gen:
"Obviously the youth of today are the future and I believe strongly that its my responsibility to pass on any knowledge and experience I gain for others to take things further. We’ve all got a winning mentality – and don’t get me wrong we have to win at all costs – but if I can give someone an opportunity on the way, I’m going to do it. If there’s a group of young people that I can inspire so they can pursue their dreams and go even further than me...that’s what I want. They’re the future."