British light-heavyweight Dan Azeez (19-0, 13 KO’s) can now legitimately count himself among the best 175 pounders in the world after capturing the European title in Paris, France on Saturday night.
Azeez added the continent’s title to his English, British and Commonwealth 175lb (12st, 7lbs) belts. He joins the strong list of champions of yesteryear like Chris Finnegan, John Conteh and Dennis Andries to operate at world level and in a division that is ‘redhot’ in the UK.
The Lewisham, south London fighter, billed out of nearby Croydon, in defeating tall Frenchman Thomas Faure (21-5-1, 2 KO’s), was dominant and tidy throughout. Working off his excellent left jab and following up with strong rights he took the fight to the tall ex-champion and shook him up on a number of occasions. Most notably, in the eleventh, which Faure was fortunate to navigate.
Faure was spirited throughout, but the inevitable stoppage came after 0:50 of the final round when Azeez landed two strong rights consecutively. He was clearly ahead on points at the time and there was no protest from his opponents team.
In a surprise upset, twelve years older Carlos Takam (40-7-1, 28 KO’s) defeated 2018 Rio Olympic champion Tony Yoka (11-2, 9 KO’s) at heavyweight by split decision (96-94, 94-96, 96-94) over ten rounds. The middle card was a travesty on Takam’s dominance throughout. Yoka now has to bounce back from two consecutive demoralising defeats. He does though hold a win over Joe Joyce as an amateur.
Female 2020 Olympic champion Lauren Price (3-0, 1 KO) looked impressive defeating Naomi Mannes (6-2, 4 KO’s) by unanimous decision (80-72 x3) after eight one sided rounds at welterweight. Price is definitely looking one for the future and continues to grow as she steps up in rounds, this being her first eight rounder.
The middleweight contest between Macauley McGowan (17-3-2, 3 KO’s) and Farrhad Saad (8-0-2) on the BOXXER/All Star Boxing promotion ended in a controversial majority draw. McGowan looked to be denied a rightful victory.
Finally, on Sunday in London The Ring middleweight and world champion Natasha Jonas was named British Boxer of 2022 by the BBBofC (Board of Control). It capped a remarkable year for the likeable personality and fighter from Liverpool, England. She became the first female to capture the prestigious British award which has existed for many years.
Fight of the 2022 was the eleven round Leigh Wood – Michael Conlan WBA world featherweight contest held in Nottingham, England last March, also voted The Ring magazine’s world fight of the year.