Dan Azeez fights Thomas Faure in Paris on March 11, live on Sky Sports; Victory over Faure would see Azeez add the European title to the British and Commonwealth championships he already holds; Azeez believes it could also set up clashes with British rivals like Anthony Yarde
By John Dennen, Sports journalist
Dan Azeez expects winning the European title in Paris to set him up for a big year.
Azeez is already the British and Commonwealth light-heavyweight champion and he challenges Thomas Faure for the European crown on March 11, live on Sky Sports.
Victory, he believes, will set him up for major clashes with his British rivals.
“At least these guys can look at me as something to gain from. Coming up I was put in the ‘who wants him’ club. A lot of risk and little reward,” he told Sky Sports.
“The more belts I’m collecting and the more I’m climbing up the ranks, the more notoriety I’m getting, I guess they can look at me with moneybag eyes.”
Anthony Yarde is coming off a highly creditable loss to unified world champion Artur Beterbiev. That fight has great appeal.
“He should come and fight me,” Azeez said of Yarde.
Azeez has regularly sparred the fearsome WBC, IBF and WBO title-holder so understands as well as anyone how good Beterbiev is.
“I was really, really impressed with [Yarde’s] performance. I was more impressed with the shots that he took and came back [from] because I know how hard Beterbiev hits. I think his unconventional style gave Beterbiev a few problems,” Azeez said.
“I’m sure a lot of people didn’t think he would last that long, or perform that well. He did well.”
There are a host of quality British light-heavyweights as well as Azeez and Yarde. There’s Joshua Buatsi, Lyndon Arthur and many more.
“I think anyone in the top 10 in Britain is a good fight, between all of us,” Azeez said. “So why don’t we fight each other?
“Maybe they can put on a Super Six, Super Eight or Super 10. I think it would be brilliant. That’s what I say anyway. It would be good to just get all of us top boys just to fight each other.”
Azeez must focus on his next fight. Faure will be a determined opponent who gets to enjoy home advantage in Paris.
“I don’t want to be too much in a comfort zone,” Azeez said. “It’s another challenge.
“It’s like the British title I should be able to fight anywhere in Britain for it. You’re the British champion for a reason. If I want to be the European champion I should be able to fight anywhere in Europe for it.”
Nevertheless, he doesn’t want to leave the Faure fight in the judges’ hands. He will be gunning to finish it inside the distance.
“If I can win by stoppage, KO, it’ll be good,” Azeez said.
“He’s tall, everyone’s taller than me so it’s nothing new. Boxes on the backfoot, punches in bunches, he’s experienced, former [EU] title-holder as well.
“So I’m expecting a good fight. I think our styles will make for a good fight.”
Watch Dan Azeez versus Thomas Faure on Saturday March 11 live on Sky Sports