By Miriam Onyango

Joshua Buatsi defeated Dan Azeez via unanimous decision on Saturday at London’s OVO Arena at Wembley, taking a significant step toward a shot at the world light heavyweight title.

 

After demonstrating improved precision and ambition, Buatsi, the bronze medallist from the 2016 Olympics, also took Azeez’s British and Commonwealth titles.

 

“He pushed me every round. Our pride was on the line. He made me fight every second. He will give everyone a hard fight,” said Buatsi in media reports.

 

“He is a champion. I got the No 1 slot but I couldn’t have done it without Dan. It was a pleasure sharing the ring with him. He made me fight every second,” he added.

 

The 30-year-old Ghanaian fighter Buatsi (18-0, 13 KOs) started the bout ranked first by two international regulatory bodies. With his victory on Saturday, he will continue to be the top contender at light heavyweight to compete for world crowns.

 

But Buatsi will have to wait for his chance. In an attempt to determine the undisputed champion, Dmitry Bivol is scheduled to fight opponent and fellow Russian champion Artur Beterbiev, who is the owner of the WBC, IBF, and WBO titles.

 

Azeez (20-1, 13 KOs) a 34-year old boxer from England, was ranked No. 2 by two international regulatory organizations entering the match. Even though it was his first professional loss, he still has a lot of huge fights ahead of him.

 

“He was just the better man tonight. He’s a great athlete. He has helped me in the past and it was just business today. I was glad we put on a decent show for the fans,” said Azeez in media reports.

Azeez claimed that the slippery canvas caused him to lose his balance after Buatsi dropped him twice in the eleventh round. Buatsi struck a short right, causing Azeez’s right foot to slip out from under him. The referee began counting when he hit the deck. 

 

In the final round, Azeez launched an incredible attack. Buatsi, however, waded into him and drove Azeez into the ropes using hooks that were wide-armed. After the last bell, they both stood boldly and gave each other an embrace. The judges gave Buatsi scores of 116-110 once and 117-109 twice.