Dan Azeez Denies Faking Injury, Aims for Buatsi Fight Reschedule Before Christmas
Light heavyweight contender Dan Azeez (20-0, 13 KOs) has emphatically denied allegations of faking an injury that led to the postponement of his highly-anticipated bout against Joshua Buatsi (17-0, 13 KOs) at London’s O2 Arena. Azeez, a 34-year-old from London, is determined to reschedule the fight before Christmas.
In an interview with Sky Sports, Azeez shed light on the unfortunate turn of events, stating, “I’m obviously not in the best of spirits, but it is what it is. The fight is off, and we’re looking to get a new scheduled date in the diary.” The back injury that forced him to withdraw from the match arose during his final intense training session. Azeez explained, “I was having my last real hard session, and after the session, I could feel a pain in my lower back, and it got worse and worse from there.”
Despite initial hopes that he could manage the discomfort with painkillers, Azeez quickly realized that the injury impeded his mobility, both standing and sitting, making him unfit to compete. He expressed, “I was not clear to box after that. I got some rehab to do, and it looks positive. I thought it would be much longer than expected, so I’m quite pleased about that.”
Azeez stressed the commonality of minor injuries in the sport but emphasized the severity of this particular setback. He said, “Everyone knows you always get niggles, and I’ve been in fights where you get injuries. I thought it was just another niggle, and I had a few days until the fight, but it just got worse and worse to the point where I couldn’t move, and that’s when it was concerning for me.”
Addressing the allegations that he fabricated the injury, Azeez expressed his dismay, particularly regarding speculations from within the industry. “That’s one of the things that’s been most upsetting. I’m hearing the narrative of three weeks out,” he said, adding, “The show was going to be off, but that’s really hurtful. For someone of my integrity, the type of fighter I am, I would never, ever stage an injury.”
Azeez reiterated his commitment to the sport and his fans, asserting, “People have worked hard to buy a ticket to come, and people have traveled far. I just wouldn’t do that. It’s nothing to do with [promoter] Boxxer or Buatsi; I got the injury just the other day. It was hurtful, especially coming from people in the industry. You’ll have your people on social media and your keyboard warriors, but when you have people in the industry who know the game and the industry talking about conspiracies, that’s really, really poor. I was enraged.”
In conclusion, Azeez addressed the hope of rescheduling the match against Buatsi, saying, “I’d really like it to happen before the end of the year. That’s what it’s looking like. Once we get the scans and results back, hopefully we can actually put a date to it.” He also alluded to potential competition-driven motivations behind the speculation of his injury, emphasizing his unwavering dedication to the sport and his integrity.