Joshua Buatsi and Dan Azeez went head to head on The Gloves Are Off; watch the full episode On Demand ahead of their light-heavyweight fight at The O2 in London on Saturday October 21, live on Sky Sports
Monday 16 October 2023 13:08, UK
Josh Buatsi insisted he would be "a fool" to view Dan Azeez as a "safe option" as their British rivalry flared up while filming 'The Gloves Are Off'.
The British light-heavyweight rivals went head to head in front of the cameras ahead of their South London showdown at The O2 on Saturday, live on Sky Sports.
Ranked at No 1 and No 2 in the WBA rankings, Buatsi agreed that he is facing a 50/50 fight against a fellow unbeaten contender.
"Two arms, two legs - yes," said Buatsi.
But Azeez hit back immediately, saying: "No way!
"I think Josh has picked this fight because he believes it's a safer option.
"We both know each other, and that's why he's got that grin on his face."
Buatsi quickly denied that claim.
"Dan knows I don't think this guy is an easier option," he said.
"I'm glad he brought that up because I moved promotions - all of that stuff - and you were offered me for my first fight.
"I said 'Dan's cool - give me someone else'.
"Everyone likes Dan, I like Dan.
"The only reason I'd fight Dan is if something was at stake.
"Dan's No 2 and I'm No 1 - we want to get that championship.
"So, Dan, I'm going to clear it up. - never think I've come chasing you.
"You did an interview and said, 'no, Buatsi didn't come to Sky to fight me', and that's facts - you know I didn't.
"I came to be active and to become world champion.
"You crept up the rankings nicely - it just happens to be No 1 against No 2, and that's what it is."
But Azeez did not believe this explanation.
"It's good that he tried to clear it up but I've heard different from people in the industry as well as people around our circle," said Azeez.
"This is the fight he wants.
"I've been with BOXXER before him and had my own trajectory.
"Around now, I was going to fight a credible name - I had two or three, but then, out of the blue, 'Josh wants to fight you'.
"I didn't get a call from him, so that's when I realised, something is up - I was like, it's started already, we're not really talking, we're about to fight.
"What makes me feel that way is that he is ashamed to say he wanted to fight me like I'm not credible enough and haven't earned my stripes.
"Maybe he doesn't want the British public to feel that way, but I know that deep down, I'm a fighter, I've worked my way up, nothing has been given to me - he knows this.
"I believe I've earned my stripes, and it's the fact that he doesn't want to admit that he wants to fight me, rubs me up the wrong way."
Buatsi, though, said he would be "a fool" to underestimate Azeez.
"I've seen the come-up, I've seen the hustle, I've seen the grind - Dan is a good competitor.
"The main thing is we know what is at stake, he knows what is at stake.
"There's no beef or anything, it just someone that I have to fight that I've been cool with."
Watch the full episode on Sky Sports of The Gloves Are Off - Buatsi vs Azeez, On Demand.