Joshua Buatsi Remains Unbeaten In A Hard-Fought Battle

Joshua Buatsi became the new British and Commonwealth Light Heavyweight Champion as two late knockdowns proved pivotal in beating Dan Azeez to keep his undefeated record in their WBA Title Eliminator.

It was a cagey start as the two undefeated fighters, friends and former sparring partners, worked behind their jab in the opening round. Buatsi was making the better inroads, hitting Azeez to the body in the second before the champion landed a big overhand right, with very little to separate them.

Both men traded blows, but Buatsi landed the harder punches, connecting with a strong left hook, which Azeez took well in the fourth. The two fighters exchanged left hooks at the end of the fifth, as Buatsi shaded the bout, only for Azeez to hit back with a massive overhand right, in the sixth.

Azeez’s corner responded by demanding more jabs to the body, but Buatsi was getting the better of the exchanges. Azeez fought back with a strong round nine and ten, but it was all undone in the 11th. Azeez’s footing gave away during an exchange as he touched the canvas. Despite claiming it was a slip, the referee deemed it a knockdown. Another knockdown followed after another slip, giving Buatsi an unassailable lead.

Azeez needed a knockout, leaving him vulnerable in the 12th, as Buatsi went for the stoppage. Azeez held on, but Buatsi took a unanimous decision on the cards: 116-110, 117-109, 117-109.

Both men embraced each other after the bell, showing their mutual respect for each other. The victory puts Buatsi as a mandatory for Dmitry Bivol’s WBA Title, as the Russian prepares to face Artur Beterbiev for undisputed on June 1.

Reaction

“I’m very grateful to god. Dan [Azeez] and I would like to thank everyone for coming out. He pushed me every round, he’s a champion. I couldn’t have done it without Dan, it’s a pleasure to share the ring with him. Dan was pounding my head. He made me fight every second. Dan, big up yourself. This guy will give anyone a hard fight. I’ll leave it [my next fight] to my training team. I want to put the spotlight on Dan, he pushed me. It was a great fight,” Buatsi

“He’s just the better man tonight. I can’t say one particular thing. Today he came and performed. He’s a great athlete inside and outside the ring. I respect him. He’s won tonight, he deserves what’s coming next,” Azeez

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