BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Dan Azeez is set to box at Bethnal Green’s York Hall on April 26 and it will serve as a tune-up for a Southern Area title fight.
The 29-year-old light-heavyweight from Lewisham has won all seven of his professional bouts.
And next up after this month’s assignment is a chance to win a first belt.
“The British Boxing Board of Control have made me mandatory for the Southern Area – it is just a question of getting an opponent to fight for it,” said Azeez. “I should have been fighting for it this time, but I couldn’t get an opponent in time.
“MTK [his management team] have agreed an opponent now for some time in June and it should be shown on ESPN, which is quite good for me in terms of TV coverage.”
Azeez certainly has quality sparring – with new British champion Joshua Buatsi on his speed dial. The Croydon man has been tipped for the very top.
“He’s a good mate of mine,” said Azeez. “I help him prepare for his fights and he helps prepare me for mine.
“He is very, very good. Just by sparring him I am learning boxing. Just by watching him on the pads I am learning boxing. He is a really nice guy but vicious in the ring and technically a very good boxer. If he keeps going the way he is going then he’ll definitely be a world champion.
“He’s one of the best people I have shared a ring with, it’s always a pleasure.
“He messaged me on Tuesday to say he had got back from Dubai, and when I was ready to get some work then to give him a call. As soon as his holiday is over he is straight back in camp. It is good to be around those sort of guys.
“Lawrence Okolie, who is the British champion at the weight above, is a stable-mate of mine. And Danny Dignum, who is from Essex and a former GB athlete.
“God-willing I’ll get that [Southern Area] title fight and I can push on for other ones – the English and British.”
Azeez stopped Stanislav Eschner in five rounds at York Hall in February.
“I was supposed to fight in December but I picked up a little hand injury,” he said. “I was eager to get in there and see if the injury would affect me.
“I could have started off a bit quicker but I broke him down and got a late stoppage.
“I was pleased, even if you can always do better.
“The hand injury was minor but they can take longer to heal. As a boxer you are constantly punching and you never get that option to rest. I had to give it time over Christmas to heal.”
PICTURES BY SEBASTIAN BARROS