Who will win the Buatsi v Azeez fight?

Author: Published: January 29, 2024
Buatsi v Azeez

Big-time boxing returns to Wembley Arena on Saturday February 3. Two unbeaten boxers face each other as Joshua Buatsi takes on Dan Azeez. 

This much-anticipated fight is for the British and Commonwealth light heavyweight titles that are currently held by Azeez. Far more is at stake than that though and one look at the world ranking lists shows just why that is so.

Buatsi is ranked the number one contender by the WBO and WBA. He’s ranked second with the WBC and third by the IBF. Azeez is in third position with the WBO and WBC, fourth in the IBF list and second with the WBA.

Another British boxer Callum Smith recently lost his title challenge to the WBO, IBF and WBC champion  Artur Beterbiev. The next ranking list should see him drop down the list so whoever wins this Wembley clash is in line to become mandatory challenger.

The other champion in this division is Dmitry Bivol who holds the WBA title. He’s expected to head to Saudi Arabia to take on Beterbiev for the undisputed title. This fight is an official final eliminator for the WBA belt but the winner could be just one successful title challenge away from challenging for the undisputed title.

Battle of the Unbeaten Boxers

Joshua Buatsi won a bronze medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics. He turned professional a year later and has since won all 17 of his professional fights. This is only his third fight since 2021 and he only fought once last year.

That saw him get an undisputed points win over Pawel Stepien last May. He was due to take on Azeez on October 31 last year but that was postponed due to Azeez suffering a back injury. 

Buatsi’s last two fights have both gone the distance. That includes a 12 round success against Craig Richards in May 2021. His last stoppage was against Ricards Bolotniks in 2021 but it took him 11 rounds to do so.

Buatsi will look to hit Azeez with powerful body shots. That’s worked for him in the past, though he has to be careful. He had a point taken away from him after a series of low blows against Bolotniks.

13 of his wins have come inside the distance and you can get odds of 13/5 at bet365 on that being how he wins this contest.

Azeez Used to being the Underdog

Dan Azeez is hopefully fully recovered from the back injury he sustained in training for the original October date. He’s the underdog in this fight and 5/2 with WIlliam Hill to beat Buatsi.

He’s had sparring sessions with Beterbiev in the past and would relish a real fight with him. He doesn’t mind the fact that he’s the underdog in this fight  and is 3/1 at bet365 to be the winner. He’s the outsider despite the fact that he’s the boxer who is defending his titles this weekend.

Azeez has had 20 professional fights and won every one of them. His last fight was last July with an eight round points victory over Khalid Graidla. Not the most impressive performance against an opponent who had already lost 14 professional fights.

Four months before that rather routine fight, he beat Thomas Faure for the European title, stopping him in the 12th and final round. You can get odds of 8/1 on Azeez winning this title bout inside the distance.

This isn’t his first big all-British title bout. In December 2022 he took on former world title challenger Rocky Fielding in Bournemouth. That fight was won in eight rounds and Fielding has since retired.

Who’ll win this weekend? Buatsi is the overwhelming favourite to be the victor. Neither boxer has really been beating top level world class opponents and are unlikely to defeat either Beterbiev or Bivol in the future. Buatsi does look the most likely to win and it’s 8/11 at BetVictor that he does so via a points decision. Don’t rule out the chance of a draw though and that’s 16/1 at William Hill and a good side bet.

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