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Joshua Buatsi vs Dan Azeez is a 'very important' fight for the division, says WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman

WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman expects the winner of the Joshua Buatsi vs Dan Azeez fight to challenge for a world title; the WBC has not yet received a sanctioning request for Artur Beterbiev-Dmitry Bivol undisputed fight; watch Buatsi vs Azeez on February 3 live on Sky Sports

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Joshua Buatsi knows an undisputed fight between Artur Beterbiev and Dmitry Bivol could create a world title opportunity and he cannot slip up against Dan Azeez

Joshua Buatsi versus Dan Azeez will establish the leading contender in the light-heavyweight division.

Two rival champions, Artur Beterbiev and Dmitry Bivol, currently hold all the major 175lb titles between them.

Beterbiev and Bivol are widely expected to fight in an undisputed championship bout later this year.

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Andre Ward says Joshua Buatsi has shown great progress during his training to face Dan Azeez and he cannot wait to see the fight

Buatsi vs Azeez, which takes place on February 3 at Wembley Arena live on Sky Sports, will decide the leading contender for the belts Bivol and Beterbiev hold.

Buatsi and Azeez, both from south London, are rated No 1 and No 2 respectively with the WBA, the championship held by Bivol.

In the WBC ratings they are also the next most highly ranked challengers after Callum Smith, who lost to Beterbiev earlier this month.

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Artur Beterbiev says Dmitrii Bivol is the fight he has always wanted and hopes the WBA champion will finally agree to face him next

WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman said of Buatsi-Azeez: "It's a very important fight and that's why it's so exciting.

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"There are many fighters coming up in a variety of weight divisions that capture the imagination of the fans seeing that in the future they will be fighting for a world title."

While the Buatsi-Azeez victor will be waiting in the wings, the Beterbiev vs Bivol fight has not yet been confirmed.

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Dan Azeez believes he will walk away from the Joshua Buatsi fight with a win and the spectacle will be even bigger following the postponement from October

"We have not received a sanctioning request for that fight so before we receive it, it would be speculation," Sulaiman told Sky Sports. "I've seen some media outlets [reporting it], so we will get in contact with the promoters."

It can be difficult for an undisputed champion to keep hold of all the belts and uphold their different mandatory commitments. Belts fragmenting could, in this instance, create opportunities for Buatsi or Azeez.

But the WBC president would like to see change in the sport and for undisputed champions to remain undisputed for longer.

That though might need sanctioning bodies to loosen mandatory requirements for them.

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Watch Artur Beterbiev's brutal assault on Callum Smith from ringside as he knocked out the British challenger in the seventh round (vid courtesy of Top Rank)

"That gives that special fighter a special status that he can go on and do the things that are doable," Sulaiman said.

"Fans, media like undisputed and that's correct. You want to see who's the best. That's it. Boxing's structure is different, there are four organisations that are recognised. [With] the obstacles of promoters, networks, this and that, then it leads sometimes to the undisputed champion losing one or two or three belts.

"But I am positive that things will continue to grow in a way in which the great champions that accomplish something are addressed on a different scale, [from] a different position, because they have done something that is extraordinary that takes many years to happen.

"But we will see."

Watch Joshua Buatsi vs Dan Azeez on February 3 live on Sky Sports


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