Dan Azeez scores epic last-round finish to beat Thomas Faure and win European title in France | Boxing News
Dan Azeez triumphed in an epic battle to win the European light-heavyweight title when he stopped Thomas Faure in the final round in Paris on Saturday.
After winning every belt going at domestic level, from Southern Area and English to British and Commonwealth championships, Azeez was stepping up to fight for the European title against Thomas Faure in the latter’s home country.
Azeez wanted to experience a hostile environment in this fight, he certainly got that as the Zenith de Paris came to life after the French national anthem.
With Faure much the taller man, Azeez jabbed to the body. The home fighter looked for Azeez, throwing long jabs down at him. He showed a neat uppercut too on the inside.
But Azeez drove his right to the head then the body. The same shot flew over the Frenchman’s jab.
He leapt in with his jab, unfazed when Faure switched his stance. Faure largely retreated in the second round but fired back when Azeez pinned him down. But by that second session, the Frenchman’s nose was already bleeding freely.
Azeez was relishing all that early work and nodded to himself when he returned to his corner at the bell.
The Londoner came on even stronger in the next round, starting to break the tall man down. A hook, snapped in from Faure, served a note of caution, but Azeez hammered his right in once again.
The Frenchman swung a desperate uppercut out but couldn’t catch Azeez with it. Faure looked weary as he threw clusters of punches back at his tormentor.
By the fourth round, Faure was having to work off the ropes. The Frenchman dug deep though and sliced sudden straight shots through Azeez’s guard.
The Briton opened the fifth round with a vengeance, his hard right crashing home. Warming to his success, he even urged the Frenchman on when Faure caught him and traded crosses with gusto.
Faure began the sixth round opening up with combinations, fighting to gain a toehold in this contest.
But a right wobbled him. He was wilting and Azeez let another heavy backhand crash into him.
Faure however had heart and, just as it looked like he was out on his feet, came roaring back. He used the crowd then as the arena chanted his name aloud.
Azeez rose to it himself, pumping his arms in the air before he came out for the seventh round.
The home fighter managed to steady himself, tapping a right hook into his tormentor’s body.
But even when Faure had success, he was taking damage, his left eye closing as Azeez marked him up.
They had fought at a tremendous pace. That intensity dipped for a moment in the eighth and Faure had his most successful round of the fight.
An undeterred Azeez turned the screw, landing his uppercuts and hitting jolting crosses to the head.
Somehow Faure dredged up the willpower to continue. But he was taking punch after punch to the head. Azeez’s sheer work-rate was overwhelming him.
In a gesture of sportsmanship, the Briton even hugged him at the start of the final round.
But the ending was vicious
His right smashed in to leave Faure out on his feet. The referee stepped in in the nick of time to save the stricken Frenchman. Faure protested but the stoppage was perfect.