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Dan Azeez cleared for rescheduled Joshua Buatsi light-heavyweight showdown from mid January

BOXXER promoter Ben Shalom has confirmed Dan Azeez will be fit to fight from mid January; Azeez was due to box sparring partner turned rival Joshua Buatsi last month but had to withdraw due to a back injury; Buatsi vs Azeez can now be scheduled early in the New Year

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Dan Azeez talks about his back injury and the rumours surrounding why the fight with Joshua Buatsi was postponed

Dan Azeez has been cleared to return to action early in the New Year for his rescheduled British battle with Joshua Buatsi.

Azeez was forced to withdraw from a scheduled light-heavyweight clash with Buatsi last month due to a back injury. But BOXXER promoter Ben Shalom has confirmed the Lewisham fighter will now be fit to fight from mid January.

Buatsi was due to box friend and former sparring partner, turned rival Azeez on October 21 in a major event in London, but Azeez had to withdraw on the week of the fight.

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Speaking on The Gloves Are Off, friends and sparring partners Dan Azeez and Joshua Buatsi discuss how defeat would affect their careers.

"For me the two biggest fights that we've had in this country this year have been Eubank-Smith, one and two, on British soil. For me that [Buatsi vs Azeez] was the third biggest fight in this country," Shalom said.

"The way it built and the interest that it generated and the devastation when it was off was felt across British boxing. I think that shows when you've got a real big fight and I think it's going to be all the bigger for it.

"Both fighters have had to endure a lot in terms of the delay in that fight. I'm just really excited for them getting back in the ring.

"That fight will be announced imminently."

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Azeez had picked up the injury in his final training session and has had to pull out of his headliner with just four days to go after being advised against competing by doctors.

"I was having my last real hard session and after the session I could feel a pain in my lower back, and it got worse and worse from there," Azeez previously told Sky Sports.

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Speaking before he had to withdraw from the fight, Azeez discussed how he likes to prove himself right and others wrong regarding his underdog status

"I thought I would be able to take some painkillers but the restriction, I couldn't move the way I needed to move, both standing up and sitting down. I was not clear to box after that.

"I've been in fights where you get injuries. I thought it was just another niggle and I had a few days until the fight, but it just got worse and worse to the point where I couldn't move and that's when it was concerning for me."

Buatsi and more recently Azeez have held the British light-heavyweight title. Buatsi is an Olympic medallist while Azeez has also won the European title. They have risen through the ranks to be ranked No 1 and No 2 with the WBA.

They will now set their shared past aside to pursue their ambitions and fight each other to earn the world title shot they both crave.

The question as to which of them will continue their advance will be decided soon, when they fight early in the New Year.

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