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Dan Azeez: 'Remember Ben Whittaker wanting to box me in five fights. What's he on now?'

Chris Billam-Smith defends his WBO cruiserweight title against Richard Riakporhe live on Sky Sports; Dan Azeez and Ben Whittaker both box on Saturday's bill in separate fights, Azeez against dangerous Croatian Hvoje Sep and Whittaker takes the next step in his career against Ezra Arenyeka

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Dan Azeez describes what's at stake for him this Saturday against Hrvoje Sep, as he looks to get back in the win column after suffering his first professional loss against Joshua Buatsi

Dan Azeez has not forgotten Ben Whittaker turning professional in a blaze of publicity and claiming he’d beat the then-British champion in under five fights.

Azeez lost his title to Joshua Buatsi in February but would still urge Whittaker to take the fight with him.

Whittaker, an Olympic silver medallist in 2021 now 7-0 as a professional, is rising through the pro ranks and fights Ezra Arenyeka on Saturday at Selhurst Park, live on Sky Sports.

South London's Azeez is on the same card, boxing Hrvoje Sep, a Croatian who was a stellar amateur in his day and a two-time European medallist.

Azeez understands comparisons can be drawn between their respective opponents on the big bill.

"I don't know, I'll let the real boxing fans decide who's a real fighter and a proper fighter and who's not. I just do what I've got to do, fight who I've got to fight and he's fighting who he's got to fight," he told Sky Sports. "But credit to both of them, two undefeated guys.

"[Arenyeka] is unknown, potentially a soft touch but he might not be a soft touch so we don't know. So you've got to give Ben the credit for going into the unknown.

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"They're both characters so I'm sure it'll be a good fight, good build-up."

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Ben Whittaker showed off some dance moves ahead of sending a message to Ezra Arenyeka

Whittaker has caused a stir in professional boxing with his extravagant showboating, knockout wins and unalloyed confidence.

It has caught the public's attention, and certainly Azeez's who's been one of the fighters Whittaker called out directly.

"Do you know what's so funny, remember [him wanting to fight] me under five fights," Azeez said. "He just didn't.

"What fight is he on now?"

But the Londoner added: "They're moving him along the way they're moving him along. If we meet we meet. For now I've just got to think about Sep."

Azeez can't dwell too much on future options in the exciting light-heavyweight division. He fully expects Sep to be a real challenge over eight rounds on Saturday.

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From dancing and posturing to ring gymnastics, take a look at the best of Whittaker's showboating

"Due to the respect I have for Sep, the history he has and the pedigree he comes with I can only focus on Sep at the moment. If it doesn't go right on Saturday for me, that's all out of the question. So it's Sep that I'm focusing on," Azeez said.

"He doesn't know what a step back is so it's going to be interesting," he continued. "If I want to prove that I'm one of the best in the country let alone the world I have to be fighting this kind of opposition and getting the job done.

"I'm at that level now, there's no messing around. If I can't do it now I'm never going to be able to do it.

"He gave it to Bolotniks and Bolotniks is a good fighter," Azeez warned. "Sep took him to the wire in his fight so I can only expect fireworks come June 15."

Final remaining tickets for Billam-Smith vs Riakporhe available via Boxxer.com.

Watch Chris Billam-Smith defend his WBO cruiserweight world title against Richard Riakporhe at Crystal Palace's Selhurst Park, live on Sky Sports on Saturday June 15; or Stream with NOW

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