FIGHT SPORTS Exclusive Interview With Dan Azeez Ahead Of His WBA Light Heavyweight Title Eliminator With Joshua Buatsi

Joshua Buatsi and Dan Azeez face off this Saturday in a WBA Light Heavyweight Title Eliminator from Wembley Arena, London. 

Azeez entered the professional ranks in 2017 and won the English Light Heavyweight Title, beating Lawrence Osueke in 2019. The Commonwealth Light Heavyweight Title followed with a victory over Rocky Fielding in 2022. Azeez’s last bout was a win against Khalid Graidia.

Since turning professional in 2017, Buatsi beat Liam Conroy to win the British Light Heavyweight Title. His biggest wins were over Ryan Ford, Ricards Bolotniks, and Craig Richards. His last bout was a decision win over Pawel Stepien in May 2022.

Buatsi and Azeez were meant to fight last October, but Azeez pulled out with a back injury days before the fight. There is history between the two fighters, who are friends and have been sparring partners. They both became pro in 2017 and are undefeated.

But come fight night, any friendship will be out of the window. The winner knows they will be in a mandatory postion to take on Dmitry Bivol for his WBA Light Heavyweight Title. FIGHT SPORTS caught up exclusively with Azeez ahead of his fight this Saturday. 

Key Quotes

On any bad blood:  “No, I don’t think there’s any bad blood over the postponement of the fight. Obviously, things are said back and forth. But there’s definitely no bad blood on my side. We’re less than ten days away now. So I’m more focused on the actual day.

On it being personal: “It’s always been a personal thing because boxing is my sport. It’s my drive. So as cliche as you know, that whole thing is, yeah, just business as usual. I’ve got goals that I’m trying to achieve. And unfortunately, people are actually in the way of them. So yeah, in that sense, it is personal.

Do you respect Joshua Buatsi? “Yeah, for sure. I respect every man, woman and human being. I mean, at the end of the day, he’s doing what he is passionate about.

On not being the A-side: “I’m not really fussed. I’m actually just happy that I’m here. Like, because I wouldn’t have even imagined to be headlining, but obviously, we’ll be fighting for my title…It’s all about who wins.” 

On it being a WBA World Title Eliminator: “First of all, I’d like to know that I’ve earned my right to fight such a champion like Bivol. If I can’t beat a Buatsi, then Bivol and me shouldn’t be even in the same sentence. That’s the brutal honest truth.

On why he will win: “The passion, my drive, I think my why for winning is greater than my want. It shows in the ring. 

On the pressure: “I think I feel pressure for every fight because for me if I don’t win a fight, I don’t think the doors for the next level opens up. That’s how I see it, it’s a step at a time, and if you complete one stage, on to the next one, so for me to get to the next stage, which is like you mentioned like Bivol, I’ve got to pass this test.”

The biggest fight: “Oh, 100% or a million percent. Every fight is always the biggest fight of your career. But yeah, this is definitely the biggest…Yeah, I get nerves. When I’m like coming out, I just feel like, yeah, go get the job done.

On staying undefeated: “That whole undefeated thing takes you away from challenges, but no fighter wants to lose. I care about big fights, meaningful fights. I’ve got loads of greats that I look up to and they’ve got losses. 

On getting his hand raised: “It would mean the world. It just goes to show what dedication, you know, discipline [and] consistency can get you. When I first ever said I was gonna turn pro and people in my family were like come on like, Dan, stop…They’re like now, the first people that want to get tickets and stuff.

Where To Watch Info

Watch Buatsi vs. Azeez on FIGHTSPORTS Network in Japan, Spain, Portugal, France, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Middle East/North Africa, Angola, Mozambique, and Cape Verde.

Watch Buatsi vs. Azeez on FIGHTSPORTS MAX in select territories: https://bit.ly/47YAcKG

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