Home Boxing News Joshua Buatsi closes in on world title shot with decision win over...

Joshua Buatsi closes in on world title shot with decision win over Dan Azeez, Fabio Wardley and Frazer Clarke to meet in March

Joshua Buatsi and Dan Azeez. Photo credit: Sky Sports

Highly rated light heavyweight contender Joshua Buatsi 18-0 (13) claimed the British and Commonwealth 175-pound titles with a 12-round unanimous decision victory over Dan Azeez 20-1 (13) at Wembley Arena in London, England on Saturday night.

In an action packed affair Buatsi pulled away late, dropping Azeez twice in the 11th round to secure the 117-109, 117-109 and 116-110 victory. At least one of the knockdowns in the 11th round was a slip on the wet advertisement.

Buatsi is number one contender for the WBA title held by Dmitry Bivol 22-0 (11) and the WBO title held by Artur Beterbiev 20-0 (20). The Ring magazine ranked him at number five going in to his fight against their sixth ranked contender Azeez.

“Dan pushed me every round,” Buatsi said after the fight. “He is a champion. I got the number one slot but 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.”

Azeez, who had sparred countless rounds with Buatsi in the past, was disappointed at the result but happy to be one half of an entertaining contest.

“I guess he was just the better man tonight,” Azeez said. “He came and performed. He is a great athlete in and out of the ring and I respect him a lot.

“He has helped me in the past and it was just business today. I was glad we put on a decent show for the fans.”

Sky Sports pundit George Groves said the fight looked like a good matchup on paper and delivered on the night.

“It was a brilliant fight,” Groves said. “The momentum shifts – one way, then the other. I thought Buatsi was going to detonate and then Azeez came back.

“The canvas was a bit slippy and poor Azeez slipped up.

“Buatsi is elite. We have been waiting for him to step up to the very top and win a world title. But Azeez showed that he belongs at this level.”

Buatsi was more active and more accurate than Azeez. According to CompuBox, Buatsi landed 228 of 841 blows with a 27% connect rate compared to 159 of 713 at 21% for Azeez.
Buatsi held a 152 to 72 advantage in power punches landed.

Promoter Boxxer announced during the card that undefeated heavyweight prospects Fabio Wardley 17-0 (16) and Frazer Clarke 8-0 (6) would clash at the O2 Arena in London on March 31.

“I’m absolutely buzzing to be headlining what will be a massive show at the iconic O2 Arena, I’ve fought there a lot before so it’s like a home away from home for me,” Wardley said.

“As a seasoned former Olympian, Frazer Clarke is definitely the most well-schooled boxer I’ll have ever faced, but there’s some lessons you can’t learn in school… And I’ve got more than enough firepower in my arsenal to lay him flat on his back, just like all my other opponents.”

Clarke said: “Finally, the fight that I wanted and the fight that the British public wanted. The talking is over, it’s here.

“Headlining the O2 Arena for the British and Commonwealth titles is something I’ve dreamed of. I’m ready to take out Fabio Wardley and bring the titles back to Burton upon Trent. There’s been a lot of back and forth but now we can settle it like men.”