Joshua Buatsi happy that Dan Azeez bout rescheduled for early 2024

Dan Azeez and Joshua Buatsi are set to be the first South London fighters in big fights in 2024 – with their rescheduled light-heavyweight clash on February 3.

The undefeated pair were due to collide in October at Greenwich’s 02 Arena but Lewisham’s Azeez withdrew right on the cusp of the bout with a back injury.

Now the duo will get it on at Wembley Arena.

Buatsi (17-0) has boxed just once since defeating Crystal Palace’s Craig Richards in May 2022 – looking unimpressive in a points win over Pawel Stepien just under 12 months later.

“I spent months and months in camp (for the first Azeez fight) – you can tell I am very, very frustrated,” Buatsi told Sky Sports Boxing.

“A lot of fighters have had this happen to them, so I’m not going to single myself out and feel sorry for myself, but I hated it and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone else. It was four days before the fight – I was in my kitchen when I found out.

“But I need to let go of that. I’m happy that we can dance.

“When I knew the fight was off and that I wasn’t going to box again that year I had a break. I had a week or two off – I’ve kept up with my runs and the usual routines and foundations that I need to do.

“It was very important to leave the boxing atmosphere and think about anything other than boxing. Now I’m fresh and well-rested – I’m happy to go back to camp.”

Buatsi based himself in Portsmouth with his American trainer Virgil Hunter for the original date but has headed to Oakland, California to prep this time.

Azeez (20-0) puts his British and Commonwealth belts on the line and it also serves as a final eliminator for a shot at the WBA world title.

“This is a chapter I want to close but, most importantly, it is a final eliminator – so anything else (in terms of other bouts) would not have made sense unless it was going to take me a shot closer to the title,” said the Olympic bronze medallist.

“My sole aim and goal was to win the final eliminator which would make me mandatory challenger for the world title.”

Richards (17-3-1) announced before Christmas that he has linked up with trainer Shane McGuigan. He has not fought since he lost to Buatsi – a ring absence of nearly 20 months.


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