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Buatsi's Bold Move: Overcoming Friendship to Secure Title Shot

Joshua Buatsi has made it clear that he wants to be more active in the boxing ring, especially after fighting only once in each of the last two years. Despite a promising start to his professional career that led some to believe he was the future of the light heavyweight division, Buatsi has been eager to step up his game. This determination was evident in his recent bout against his good friend Dan Azeez, a fight that almost didn't happen.



Joshua Buatsi


In an interview with Declan Warrington of Boxing News, Buatsi revealed that the fight with Azeez was offered to him twice, but he initially refused to fight his friend. The two had been frequent sparring partners and shared a close friendship, often dining together with their mutual friends. However, when the opportunity to compete in a WBA title eliminator arose, Buatsi couldn't resist.


The fight between Buatsi and Azeez at Wembley Arena was anything but friendly. Both fighters displayed a fierce determination, with Buatsi showing a level of ferocity he had not previously exhibited. Despite their familiarity with each other, they engaged in intense exchanges throughout the twelve rounds, with Buatsi ultimately emerging victorious. Buatsi scored two knockdowns in the 11th round and secured a unanimous decision victory with scores of 117-109 twice and 116-110.


Buatsi's win not only earned him the British and Commonwealth light heavyweight titles but also made him the mandatory challenger for the WBA title held by Dmitriy Bivol. Buatsi acknowledged the tough fight he had against Azeez and expressed his respect for his opponent after the match. He also emphasized that their friendship remains intact despite their bout.


Looking ahead, Buatsi aims to continue his active boxing career. While Bivol is scheduled for a title unification bout with Artur Beterbiev in June, Buatsi is open to facing Anthony Yarde, another top contender in the division. Buatsi's willingness to take on tough opponents shows his determination to climb to the top of the light heavyweight division, where there are no friends and no shortcuts.

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