JOSHUA BUATSI made his next fight official when he appeared on Sky Sports News today.
The 30-year-old put pen to paper on a contract to fight friend and Boxxer stable-mate Dan Azeez.
“He’s done his part so I can only do my part and look forward to a big fight, a big domestic clash in October hopefully,” Buatsi said.
Days before a tick-over fight in Milan on Saturday Dan Azeez announced that he had signed his contract to face a man he has sparred hundreds of rounds against. All that is left now is a date and venue for the light-heavyweight South London derby.
“Someone I’m very familiar with but we understand what’s at stake,” Buatsi said. “And it’s a final eliminator for a world title which is what we wanna win so for 12 rounds or less we can make it happen.”
Croydon’s Buatsi 17-0 (13) joined Azeez at Boxxer earlier this year having ended his time at Matchroom with Eddie Hearn. While the 2016 Olympic bronze medallist may have the pedigree and the more recognisable name it is Azeez who has all the momentum. In less than two years Azeez picked up the British, Commonwealth and European titles at 175lbs. The 33-year-old has vacated the latter which he won in France against Thomas Faure with a stoppage in the final round of their March matchup.
It is well documented how well both Buatsi and Azeez know each other given their friendship and the number of punches they’ve thrown at one another in sparring. Both should have a clear idea of what to expect on fight night.
“We know how Dan fights,” Buatsi remarked. “He’s gonna be there to win. There’s an approach he has and I’ve got that approach, too. Friends or no friends someone coming to do that to me on Sky Sports what can I do. I’ve got to fight back, show up. It’s something I’m looking forward to.”
Buatsi was asked if the amount of time they have spent sparring is a positive or a negative.
“For now, it becomes irrelevant or something I couldn’t care less about. In our sub-conscious we know how that sparring went and what to do and what I need to work on based on that. The beauty of it now is we’ve got different trainers. I’d say we’ve both actually improved so it’ll be good to see how that unfolds over 12 rounds.
Azeez 20-0 (13) is now well-known for his pressure fighting style. The Lewisham fighter has used in your face aggression to good effect backed by effective punching which has stopped five of his last seven opponents.
“We know he’s a pressure fighter,” Buatsi said.
“[He] may come out and box for a bit but will revert to what he does, or he may start off doing what he does and just be better at it. Whether it’s a long range, short range, mid-range I will prepare for any type. All angles. I’m not focusing on one type of style. I’m preparing for everything so the bottom line when it’s all said and done like my boy said to me when we walked in, we have to just win.”