Dan Azeez hits out at Eddie Hearn over ‘malicious’ comments about injury
The 34-year-old's bout against Joshua Buatsi had to be postponed.
Dan Azeez has hit out at Eddie Hearn for suggesting his bout against Joshua Buatsi was postponed due to a lack of interest in the fight rather than an injury, describing his comments as ‘distasteful’.
The 34-year-old was due to face off against compatriot Buatsi at the O2 Arena on Saturday, with the winner earning the right to meet WBA world champion Dmitry Bivol, but the fight was called off after Azeez suffered a back injury in his final training session on Tuesday.
Ben Shalom’s BOXXER announced the news earlier this week with a new date to be confirmed shortly, though rival promoter Hearn – who used to represent Buatsi – was not buying it, seemingly questioning the legitimacy of the injury and suggesting the bout had not done enough sales.
Speaking on talkSPORT, Hearn said: ‘I don’t know about any injury. In boxing you hear a lot of stuff, some stuff that’s true, some that’s not. I’d heard that the event wasn’t – this is just what I heard – wasn’t going particularly well and it was unlikely to take place.
‘Whether that was true or not, and he ended up getting an injury, it’s very strange to get an injury on the Tuesday of fight week.’
He added: ‘I just think it’s strange to get an injury on the Tuesday of fight week. It very rarely happens when you’ve gone through camp. This is really a period where you’re not really doing that much, you’re tapering down on your weight, you’re not having any strenuous sessions, you’re not having any S&C.’
Hearn’s comments did not go down at all well with Azeez, who has now fired back at the Matchroom promoter and says he has worked ‘too hard’ to have his professionalism questioned.
‘Do you know what? I’m all for rival promoters having a little dig here and there. But not at the expense of a fighter’s integrity and his character,’ the light-heavyweight told talkSPORT on Thursday.
‘I work hard and I’m very passionate about the sport.
‘For someone of his stature – like, come on, this is Eddie Hearn, this is one of the biggest promoters in the world – to put a narrative like that out there about me is quite distasteful. It’s malicious as well, and harmful.
‘While he’s there probably having a little snigger with his mates, “Haha, we’re getting one over Ben [Shalom],” he’s messing up my image.
‘I’m from a community where a lot of things are happening that are bad, the youth are a bit confused. I’m trying to not only go out there and achieve stuff in the sport for myself, but also to try and be some sort of role model and inspire the next generation that’s coming up.
‘It’s deeper than him just having a little laugh, it’s messing up my image and it makes me look like I’m not practising what I preach.
‘I work too hard, I’m too passionate about the sport. I could’ve done anything else, I didn’t have to box, I’ve got a bloody degree, but I chose boxing.
‘I only just heard it yesterday and I’ll be honest I was fuming. It was very displeasing and I weren’t happy at all.’
Speaking to Sky Sports, he added: ‘It’s just really hurtful for someone of my integrity, the type of fighter I am, I would never, ever do that. I would never stage an injury. I would rather just go out there with an injury!’
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