Closing Thoughts: Buatsi v Azeez | Benn v Dobson

By Rob Maclean - 02/04/2024 - Comments

Joshua Buatsi (18-0, 13 KOs) defeats Dan Azeez (20-1, 13 KOs) by Unanimous Decision

We begin with a question: is there anybody out there, in any corner of the world wide web, who dislikes Dan Azeez? When I consider it, I can probably concede there certainly may be some being from Nordic folklore who cannot enjoy the ‘away fighter,’ an undercard boxer without a following, climbing from Southern Area champion to European champion, expected to fall at each hurdle yet remaining undefeated. I’d imagine that same person lavishing Benjamin Whittaker with compliments as he attempted to professionally embarrass a significantly overmatched opponent.

However, on Saturday evening, Dan Azeez found a hurdle too high to leap over, yet he still attempted to ram his way straight through it. Joshua Buatsi held a significant advantage in experience, in hand speed, in variety and spite, yet Azeez boar forward, undeterred for twelve brutal rounds of championship prizefighting. In round twelve, Azeez was hurt badly by Buatsi and took his first back step, yet he still ended the round throwing all but the kitchen sink at the man who would walk away as the victor.

Joshua Buatsi

The stop-start career of Joshua Buatsi has been a frustrating venture to follow, yet he’s certainly an exciting fighter inside the ring. Buatsi proved he has found a level above that of the British title, which in itself was a rather bizarre price, albeit it was featured in a box set for a crack at the WBA Light-Heavyweight champion Dimitry Bivol (22-0, 11 KOs). Buatsi’s upright, high guard, come forward with a barrage of combinations style, proved far too much for Azeez… but are we supposed to believe he’s ready for that jump yet?

I hate to admit it, but I couldn’t help but use this fight as a measuring stick for both Buatsi and Azeez. How close are they to the two elite Russians sitting at the top of Light-Heavweight? Although Buatsi possesses a mean left hook, a granite chin, and good variety, he also proved he’s still defensively suspect. Maybe in another division (Cruiserweight for example), where the title holders also carry flaws, Buatsi would make for a mean contender, but against the Russian double B’s, surely a more ‘well rounded’ skill set would be required?

Fleeting thoughts

  • Adam Azim performing a cartwheel/backflip combination directly in front of Erick Poulsen, who had withdrawn with a shoulder injury, was hilariously uncomfortable to watch.
  • Is Ben Whittaker boxing’s answer to MMA cherry-picker Michael ‘Venom’ Page?
  • Caroline Dubois has a spare sombrero now.

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Conor Benn (23-0, 14 KOs) defeats Peter Dobson (16-1, 9 KOs) by Unanimous Decision

What can be said that hasn’t already been said by Devin Haney, Josh Kelly, Michael McKinson, and Errol Spence Jr’s social media accounts. Conor ‘The Destroyer’ Benn, despite entertaining a Las Vegas ballroom with his all-action style, struggled again to hurt an overmatched opponent. Peter Dobson proved to be levels behind Conor Benn in all but spirit, but this was enough to last twelve rounds with Benn, who threw hard punches from the first round until the last. Promoter Eddie Hearn used the closing in-ring interview to again pursue a Chris Eubank Jr grudge match, despite apparent issues between Benn and the British Boxing Board of Control.

If the choice to box in America (whilst the Benn/BBBoC saga rolls on) was an attempt to increase his popularity in the States, then this is spectacularly backfiring for Benn and Matchroom. Ignoring everything else, perhaps both Dobson and Benn’s previous opponent Orcozo were just a lot more durable than Benn’s knockout reel victories, Benn has still looked incredibly overeager and raw on both occasions.

Fleeting thoughts

Austin ‘Ammo’ Williams is a pretty good boxer.
Who was Johnny Fisher’s opponent, Dmytro Bezus, fighting to achieve a winning record?

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