Dan Azeez’s highly anticipated showdown with fellow Brit, Joshua Buatsi, was canceled just days before it was due to take place, sparking a flood of conspiracy theories that have ‘enraged’ the man himself.
Azeez has been on a steady upward trajectory in recent years – the only British light-heavyweight to have won all of the British Boxing Board of Control’s domestic titles – and his coming together with Buatsi presented a real step up in quality.
The fight was due to take place at London’s O2 Arena on Saturday and the winner would have earned the right to face off with WBA world champion Dmitry Bivol sometime down the line, as well as the potential to face unified champion, Artur Beterbiev.
This is the first time Azeez has ever had to withdraw from any fight in his career and he was apologetic to all when the news broke. Despite this, some have said he has faked his back injury.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Azeez responded and said he was hurt by the associations.
“That’s one of the things that’s been most upsetting. I’m hearing the narrative of three weeks out. The show was going to be off but that’s really hurtful. That’s really hurtful to hear for someone of my integrity, for the type of fighter I am, I would never, ever stage any injury.”
He claimed he would rather have gone on and fought but the specialist told him he mustn’t.
“There are people who have worked hard for tickets, have to travel far, you know, it’s nothing to do with Boxer, Ben or Buatsi. I have an injury. After seeking medical advice and speaking to a specialist it was just a no, I can’t fight. When people who know the game are speaking about conspiracies it’s just really poor.”
“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.”
Whilst the main event has been cancelled, the scheduled undercard is set to go ahead at the new venue of York Hall. Mikael Lawal and Isaac Chamberlain fight for the British Cruiserweight title headline.