Eddie Hearn keen to stage Adam Azim-Dalton Smith in Sheffield stadium

Eddie Hearn has confirmed he will target a stadium fight for Dalton Smith if the British and Commonwealth super-lightweight holder is successful in defeating Jose Zepeda next month. 

Former Olympian Smith takes a step-up in opposition when he faces the former two-time world title challenger on March 23 at the Sheffield Arena. 

Smith hasn't been in the ring since July, when he dispatched Sam Maxwell in a defence of his British title, claiming the Commonwealth title in the process. Smith defeated Maxwell in seven rounds with a highlight-reel knockout finish. 

Earlier this week, the European Boxing Union (EBU) named Smith as mandatory challenger for their title, which Adam Azim currently holds. 

Azim, promoted by Ben Shalom, successfully made the first defence of his belt last weekend against Enock Poulsen at the OVO Arena in London. Azim, who collected the European title last November, halted Poulson in five rounds while stretching his unbeaten beaten record to 11. 

“We are more than willing to listen to offers, but I want Dalton to be involved in the biggest nights, so I’m making a play to do that fight at Hillsborough [Sheffield Wednesday’s stadium]," Hearn told iFL.

The Matchroom chairman is willing to go to purse bids if no agreement can be reached but has warned Boxxer’s Shalom not to waste everybody’s time and not to withdraw from proceedings. 

Shalom felt the wrath of Hearn during the summer of 2023 after the British Boxing Board of Control mandated Fabio Wardley [who was represented by Hearn] and Frazer Clarke to contest the British heavyweight title. 

No deal could be agreed upon between the fighters, so the contest was headed toward purse bids until Clarke withdrew from the purse bids. 

Hearn sarcastically asked Shalom to let him know if he [Shalom] would see the process through, regarding Smith-Azim. 

“If I’m going to make that fight at Hillsborough, I am going to bid an absolute fortune”, Hearn said. “Let’s just get this out in the open; let’s not do something really annoying and waste everyone’s time. If you [Azim and Shalom] are going to pull out of the fight, then please just vacate the title. 

“It’s not even really about the European title, so you can put that belt away and let’s just make the fight a world title eliminator.” 

Hearn would finalise by pledging that he will stay the course and will be willing to accept any outcome of any pending purse bid proceeding between Smith and Azim, urging Shalom to reciprocate his sentiment and commitment in making a Smith-Azim fight a reality.

“But let’s not waste anyone’s time and planning someone’s career. So i ask you [Shalom] so rather than get to the day of the purse bid and pull out, I just ask you now, can you confirm that you will take that fight wherever it goes? Because i can promise and confirm if we [Hearn and Smith] get a fantastic offer from yourselves [Boxxer] and Sky Sports, we will accept it. If we lose the purse bids, we will also not pull out of that fight,” 

"Let the fighters make their money in an unbelievable arena-stadium sellout," Hearn concluded and urged Boxxer's Shalom.