Born and raised in Lewisham, South London, Essex was a world away from the hustle and bustle of inner city life for light-heavyweight professional boxer, Dan Azeez (BA Accounting and Finance, 2012).

“I enrolled to study Accounting and Finance at Essex in 2008 and shortly joined the local boxing club in Colchester as I wanted to compete under the Amateur Boxing Association (now known as England Boxing). After one or two bouts with the local club I learnt that the University had its own club which was affiliated with the National Governing Association. Not only was this convenient for me, but it was also run by experienced coach, Gordon Charlesworth.

“I found it quite easy to balance studying, socialising and my boxing. I saw boxing as an outlet and a way to release any frustration I had. I would study and go to lectures in the mornings and then have a good blow out on the bags in the evening, it was a good way for me to balance my mind.”

Since leaving Essex in 2012 Dan has made rapid progress as a professional boxer, his title remains unbeaten after a recent show stopping performance at Greenwich’s O2 Arena.

“I don’t really have a specific thing or person that inspires me. Whenever I see a negative being turned into a positive, that inspires me, or anyone that I see overcome a bad situation, we all have the power to do this.

“If I wasn’t pursuing my boxing career I imagine I would have become some sort of business man, as well as working with kids from less privileged environments, with the aim of giving them something to aspire to.”

Dan Azeez victorious in the boxing ring

Dan’s boxing career is going from strength to strength with a huge following of all ages and some incredible performances under his belt.

“I currently hold a professional record of ten fights, ten wins, and seven coming by way of knockout. I’m ranked number 15 in the UK and I’ll be boxing at the end of the year at the Brentwood Centre, Essex live on Sky Sports for the English title.

“Just remember, nothing worthwhile comes easy, so keep plugging away, work hard, and stay consistent.”