Boxxer promoter Ben Shalom has admitted the enticing all-London light heavyweight showdown between Joshua Buatsi and Anthony Yarde is beginning to look less likely to happen.

For several weeks, negotiations for the fight seemed to be progressing well with the friendly rivals both calling for the contest, but Shalom said that while Buatsi was ready to fight, there were issues on the other side of the negotiating table.

Shalom confirmed that Buatsi was now exploring other options, although he hopes a deal can be salvaged.

Any future moves for Buatsi will likely depend on what happens in the mouth-watering unification fight between WBA champion Dmitrii Bivol and WBC, WBO and IBF champion Artur Beterbiev on June 1.

“It takes two to tango,” said Shalom, of the Buatsi-Yarde discussions.

“Look, I’m gutted we haven’t got the Yarde fight over the line yet. It’s a kick in the teeth as we’ve got a lot of British fights done this year and that’s another one, that’s a monster, and to not get that, and to not have that yet, it’s frustrating to me. It’s frustrating to Josh. It’s a fight we wanted. 

“I’m still hopeful, but we are looking at other opportunities now.” 

Butasi, 18-0 (13 KOs), last boxed in February with a strong points victory at Wembley Arena over Dan Azeez, who Shalom said might be returning on the June 15 Selhurst Park show that is headlined by the WBO cruiserweight championship between champion Chris Billam-Smith and former rival Richard Riakporhe. 

“He [Azeez] still wants to be a big name in that division and at the top of that division,” added Shalom. 

Caroline Dubois could also be headed to the June 15 show, with an announcement expected next week, along with popular Bournemouth junior middleweight Lee Cutler, who has had a social media spat with former amateur opponent Joe Laws but Stevie McKenna is in the frame, too.

Popular Cutler is trained by Josh Pritchard as part of the McGuigan’s Gym stable and the 14-1 (7 KOs) English champion has risen through the ranks in the slipstream of his friend Billam-Smith.

“I always thought when Chris retires, who’s going to sell out that BIC [Bournemouth International Centre, the indoor venue in the town],” said Shalom. “And I think Lee can do it. I’d like to see him in a good fight [on June 15].”