We analyse the credentials and statistics of Joshua Buatsi and Dan Azeez as the two light-heavyweights get set to put their friendship to the side in their quest for world domination.
For 12 rounds, Joshua Buatsi and Dan Azeez will put their friendship to one side in a bid to become the mandatory challenger for WBA light-heavyweight champion, Dmitry Bivol.
It is hardly surprising that the pair get on, they both grew up in London, are degree educated, humble and articulate.
But, despite their similarities, they have taken different routes to this point.
Buatsi (2/7) turned professional after winning a bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics and immediately established himself as a blue-chip prospect due to a combination of balance, accuracy and power.
While Buatsi has spent the entirety of his career on televised shows, earning large purses, Azeez (11/4) has fought his way up from the small-hall scene, after a brief period in the unpaid ranks.
Azeez overcame his inauspicious beginnings to capture every belt available to him from Area to European level. Now, their paths have crossed, but who will go on to challenge for world honours?
Let’s have a look at the tale of the tape…
|Joshua Buatsi||Dan Azeez|
|Height:||6ft 2ins||5ft 10ins|
|Trainer:||Virgil Hunter||Buddy McGirt|
|Record:||17-0 (13 KO's)||20-0 (13 KO's)|
|Last Fight:||Won (UD) v Pawel Stepien (May2023)||Won (UD) v Khalid Graida (July 2023)|
During the early stages of Joshua Buatsi’s professional career, he was regarded as one of the best prospects in Britain, and amongst the most exciting in the world.
However, five years on, the Londoner is yet to deliver on his promise.
Injuries and promotional issues have caused his career to stagnate. The 2016 Rio Olympic bronze medallist initially inked a pact with, promoter, Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Sport and was advised by Anthony Joshua’s 258 MGT.
But when Hearn moved his stable from Sky Sports to, the streaming platform, DAZN, Buatsi was concerned over a lack of exposure.
Hearn offered the 33-year-old a shot a WBA ruler, Dmitry Bivol, but if he were successful it would result in a contract renewal, something which Buatsi was keen to avoid. As well the Londoner’s reticence, his trainer believed that his charge was not quite ready to face one of the premier fighters at 175lbs.
At the first available opportunity, Buatsi signed with BOXXER, resulting in him returning to Sky Sports.
While there once was a real buzz surrounding Buatsi, that has largely dissipated. A highly competitive clash with Craig Richards, in 2022, resulted in his stock dropping.
A one-sided, but uninspiring, decision win over Pawel Stepien, a year later, did little alter the perception that the Londer has plateaued.
While Buatsi has not set the world alight as of late, he does possess the skillset to become a world champion. However, to reignite his career, Buatsi cannot afford another lacklustre performance; he needs to win convincingly.
|Superb balance||Can be one-paced|
|Solid jab||Lack of head movement|
|Good punch power||Stays in range too long|
|Impressive shot selection||Open to the overhand right|
If Dan Azeez’s mother had her way, her son would not be a boxer.
The Londoner took up the sport while studying at Essex University. The allure of the sweet science was strong and the Londer was hooked. However, his mother was insistent that he graduated with a degree in Accounting and Finance rather than attempting to make it as a boxer.
Azeez heeded his mother’s advice, but chose to pursue his dream upon graduating.
The 33-year-old started off on the small-hall circuit, but after eight wins, he received his big break. ‘Super’ was given the chance to challenge for the Southern Area title on the undercard of the pay-per-view fight between Dillian Whyte and Oscar Rivas.
He seized the opportunity with both hands, halting his opponent in the sixth round. Two fights later, he added the English title to his collection with a wide decision victory over Lawrence Osueke.
After two successful defences, he faced Hosea Burton for the vacant British strap. Burton represented a step up in class, but one which Azeez handled with ease, stopping the former champion in the seventh frame.
In 2022, ‘Super’ claimed the Commonwealth belt with an eighth-round victory over Rocky fielding, and then earlier this year, he completed the set by travelling to France to stop Thomas Faure in the final stanza, for the European prize.
Some refer to this as the traditional route, but is not. Azeez is the only light-heavyweight to have won all aforementioned titles! he's already a history-maker.
Azeez has done remarkably well to achieve all he has so far, given that he took to the sport later in life, but will Buatsi prove to be an insurmountable obstacle?
The 33-year-old clearly believes that the fight is a winnable one. Both men have shared the ring in sparring, which could give credence to Azeez’s confidence.
|Applies pressure well||Can be caught as he closes distance|
|Lateral movement||Prone to uppercuts|
|Feints well||Willing to take a punch to land one|
|Superb work rate||Susceptible to an overhand right|
Full Fight Markets
All odds displayed within this article were correct at the time of writing and are subject to fluctuation.