Buatsi vs Azeez Predictions: As close as they come, but Joshua Buatsi will do just enough

 | February 01 | 

3 mins read

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Joshua Buatsi challenges British and Commonwealth light heavyweight champion Dan Azeez at Wembley Arena on Saturday. For the winner, this will likely be the last time you see them at domestic level. Both men are ranked by all four major sanctioning bodies and a world title is the plan for the victor.

Joshua Buatsi vs Dan Azeez Tips

  • Buatsi by decision @ 4/5

But who will have their hand raised in the capital? Buatsi leads the market, with 1/4 the price for a victory. Azeez sits at 16/5 to get the job done in London. It’s quite the differential considering how closely matched these two look on paper.

In terms of amateur pedigree, they are poles apart. Buatsi is an Olympic bronze medalist while Azeez peaked with the ABA South of England Championship. But in terms of professional achievements, the two are quite similar.

Buatsi’s best victory came against former WBA light heavyweight title challenger Craig Richards. The Croydon man had taken Dmitry Bivol the distance a year prior, giving the Russian real trouble in the process. But Buatsi was able to out-score him in a competitive and entertaining bout. 

Azeez’s banner win was his eighth-round knockout victory over former world champion Rocky Fielding. The Liverpudlian ex-WBA super middleweight boss was past his best by the time Azeez picked him off. But he had gone 3-0 since his 2019 defeat to Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez. Interestingly, despite their lofty rankings, Fielding is the only world champion either Buatsi or Azeez have beaten.

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In most metrics, Buatsi and Azeez are almost head-to-head. Both are unbeaten. Each have 13 career knockouts, with Buatsi’s coming in three less fights. Azeez is older at 34 to Buatsi’s 30. Fielding aside, ‘Just Business’ has mixed in higher class than Azeez. Wins over Ricards Bolotniks and Renold Quinlan are a notch above most of Azeez’s resume.

There is that extra element of schooling in Buatsi’s work too. Azeez comes forward with plenty of exciting devilment, but it can open him up to shots. Fielding rattled home some nice uppercuts as Azeez attacked head-first. Buatsi is good on the front foot but he usually likes to have a look and assess his man. Azeez can take advantage of this early, but will he be studious enough to avoid those long counters of Buatsi?

Both men can bang, which could lead to some vicious exchanges. But there will be a cautious quality here. The men are friends outside the ring and know what the other brings. They’ll both want to impose themselves, but will be hyper-aware of what’s coming the other way. That rhythm suits Buatsi, who is the more patient of the two.

For these reasons, I’m edging towards Buatsi to win this beautifully-poised light heavyweight collision. Getting Azeez out of there isn’t beyond him, but I doubt it’s the gameplan. Azeez is always dangerous and pushing the accelerator recklessly would let the champion in. Instead, Buatsi will live up to his nickname and keep it ‘Just Business’ as he outboxes his friend and foe for a decision victory. The odds on this outcome are 4/5.

You can find all our latest boxing tips and analysis at our Betfred Insights Boxing page

 

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