Dan Azeez Remains Unbeaten With Punishing KO
Dan Azeez, now 18-0 (12 kos), successfully defended his British Light-Heavyweight title and added the Commonwealth title too with a methodical, destructive performance against Rocky FIelding at the Bournemouth International Centre.
The fight, as part of the Boxxer Promotions card headlined by Chris Billam-Smith was made at the intersection of their respective career arcs and proved a little too late for Fielding, who now stares long and hard into the wilderness beyond professional boxing.
#AndStill! 👑@dan_azeez retains his British Light Heavyweight crown and picks up the Commonwealth Belt to add to his collection. A career-best performance 🤩#FightNightBournemouth2 | 17.12.22 | BIC | @SkySportsBoxing pic.twitter.com/BgnId1Ve4H
— BOXXER (@boxxer) December 17, 2022
33-year-old Azeez is refreshing both in the level of activity he boasts and in the humility of his outlook. Eager to pursue competitive fights, the late bloomer from London is now drawing attention and respect. American trainer Buddy McGirt has joined the team and evidently sees a fighter with polished fundamentals, a good attitude and prospects beyond British domestic level.
The fixture was strategic in the making and designed to platform Azeez and to decorate his resume with a known name, despite the context Rocky Fielding was disappointing. Circumstances may be in play that are not in the public domain, but not only did he miss weight by a pound and opted not to try and lose it, he looked fleshy and lacking in self-belief throughout the fight.
Azeez’s performance went as expected
There was a script. Azeez read his part and delivered a well-rounded performance. Fielding knew his role too.
Azeez enhances his reputation. His work rate is impressive and despite being a relatively short fighter for the weight, he boxes in a compact stance, has outstanding head movement and has developed techniques for traversing the reach disadvantage he tends to box in. His jab was impressive. Capitalising on Fielding’s habit of leaving his head high on the outside.
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Despite that success, it was body shots that proved to be decisive. Azeez lands a plentiful number of them, such is his style, but Fielding’s apparent weakness to the body encouraged the focus too. A straight right in the seventh round removed the last of Fielding’s resistance but the shot came at the end of the round. On the stool, Fielding was told he had one more round to rebalance the fight by trainer Jamie Moore. A man forging a career as a trainer and a particularly sound judge of a fighter’s remaining resistance.
Dan Azeez, a fighter with a naturally suffocating work-rate, dialed up the pressure in the eighth round, and while the 35-year-old smiled the smile of a hurt fighter, Fielding had no snap left in his punches and the end was in sight. A further, more rueful grin spread across his face as the white towel cart-wheeled in and the referee intervened.
“I’m really happy. He was tough,” Azeez told Sky Sports in the ring. “To be honest I thought I might get him out of there a little earlier but he showed his experience. Overall, I’m happy. I’ve got a new belt and that’s what matters.”
The end of the road for Fielding, the beginning of a higher one for Azeez. Someone mentioned Hagler.
Whoever that was, he or she will not be the last person to reference the all-time great as more people get to see the likeable Londoner. It’s more than just velvet shorts and high socks.
Dan Azeez can box, too.