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Show Must Go On – Azeez – Buatsi Off, Lawal – Chamberlain Survives

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Show Must Go On – Azeez – Buatsi Off, Lawal – Chamberlain Survives

Scott Rawsthorne / MTK Global

Show Must Go On – Azeez – Buatsi Off, Lawal – Chamberlain Survives

The disappointment of an injury to British Light-Heavyweight Dan Azeez just days before his potentially totemic encounter with Joshua Buatsi in London this weekend is acutely felt. Particularly, by those boxing fans who swam in the sewer of MisFits match ups last Saturday.

Buatsi and Azeez was to be the ideal, old-school antidote, the mouthwash after the horse-shit sandwich.

World Title Shot Relevance

It is an unfortunate development for the promoter of record too. BOXXER, fronted by fresh-faced Ben Shalom, had announced a US broadcast partnership with NBC, via their Peacock streaming platform, just two days, previously. The highly-anticipated Buatsi versus Azeez encounter was to lead off the relationship and would afford the pair important exposure in their quest to land bigger paydays.

With British and European titles on the line and the probability of the victor securing a mandatory shot at the WBA title currently held by Dmitry Bivol, there was a lot at stake for the two men. Their bout is likely to be rescheduled for December, hopefully sufficient recuperation for Azeez and his back injury because it would be unfortunate if his performance was compromised by the impediment.

The unbeaten 34-year-old Azeez has been on a good run of form, having moved through the small halls without the spotlight afforded his friend and 2016 Olympic Bronze medalist Joshua Buatsi. Azeez won the European belt earlier this year having secured the British title against Hosea Burton two years ago.

A popular and likeable fighter, Azeez is inevitably frustrated by the injury; “I’m devastated for this to happen on fight week. It still hasn’t really sunk in. I’ve never had to withdraw from a fight in my career before. I am also extremely sorry to my opponent, Joshua Buatsi.”

For Buatsi, this fight could represent an overdue springboard toward the world scene he appeared lavishly equipped for – it has been a slower climb than anticipated and had stalled through 2022. Azeez would be the best scalp on his record were he to win, a new date in December is widely tipped, and would also confirm his domestic superiority, Callum Smith notwithstanding having already established himself at the higher level, and will surely enable him to capitalise on the lofty world ranking that will follow.

Their contrasting styles and their form and self-confidence promises a competitive, hard fought contest and while the delay is a frustration it will become a glowing fixture in the Winter schedule.

New Main Event Saturday

For now, the under card moves to the smaller but hallowed venue, York Hall and will be topped by an interesting Cruiserweight fight between Mikael Lawal and Isaac Chamberlain.

Also evenly matched, Chamberlain and Lawal should provide an entertaining if less important substitute. Chamberlain has the greater experience and has fought both Lawrence Okolie and Chris Billam-Smith, although he lost over the distance in both. Lawal has been inactive in 2023 too, which doesn’t encourage confidence, but will relish the opportunity to catapult himself toward a series of British Cruisers looking for opponents.

Acknowledgement for BOXXER salvaging the remainder of the bill and ensuring all fighters collect pay days and commiserations to Azeez and Buatsi, who must now wait to showcase their ability.

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David has been writing about boxing, sport’s oldest showgirl, for almost twenty years. Appearing as a columnist and reporter across print and digital as well as guest appearances with LoveSportRadio and LBC in the UK and, of course, The Big Fight Weekend podcast. Find his unique take on the boxing business here and at his site;

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