Shalom says Azim-Smith could be one of British boxing’s biggest fights

Promoter Ben Shalom has not ruled out Adam Azim clashing with Dalton Smith yet, after the EBU mandated a fight between two of Britain’s brightest prospects.

Slough’s Azim defended his European super-lightweight title against Enock Poulsen last weekend at Wembley, when Poulsen’s shoulder popped out and he could not continue.

Azim, aged 21, will now likely be out until March, while Smith takes a big step up against Jose Zepeda in his hometown of Sheffield on March 23. 

This morning, the EBU called for bids for the contest between 15-0 Smith and 11-0 Azim, and while many think the bout will not happen, just yet, Shalom would not rule it out.

“No not necessarily,” said the Boxxer head. “That fight’s going to happen. It’s similar to a [Fabio] Wardley-[Frazer] Clarke, it’s a natural. It’s a [Kell] Brook-[Amir] Khan fight, it’s a special fight. It’s a big, big domestic fight. I think it’s more a matter of when, and I’ll have to speak to Adam and his team and things like that, but the plan is to not hold up his career and the plan is to build a superstar.”

Boxxer has been on a journey trying to bring fighters through, and one of their hottest prospects is Azim, and another is his stablemate Caroline Dubois. 

“I think there is a responsibility to build superstars and that fight [Azim-Smith] has all the makings of one of the biggest British grudge matches in this era and [would] probably be a Box Office event, so I think it’s a matter of when – and that will be up to Adam,” Shalom added. 

“Adam has Ramadan now, so he’s going to be out of action for a bit, but he’s ready now for the big fights. His dream was to become the youngest world champion [from the UK], and that’s still his dream. I think he was very frustrated against Enock Poulsen and not getting the knockout and he was taking his time and then there was the injury… 

“It’s hard for me to say, without me sitting down with him and his team, exactly what fight is next, but the plan was always to fight in May, it is to fight in May, and fight someone who will help him get to his world title ambitions, climb the rankings and get towards that, given he’s pretty much beyond European level. I think that pretty much shows in every fight he has.”

Azim is just 21, Dubois is 23, and while Shalom wants them to both hits the heights, he is also in no hurry to rush them – although he is certain Dubois will box for a world title in her next bout. 

“I think people sometimes forget how young these guys are, and yes, they’ve had the platform and yes, they’re developing really quickly, but they’ve got 10-15 years [ahead of them] in the sport and I want to try and keep their feet on the ground,” Shalom explained. “It’s slightly different to Ben Whittaker, who’s 26, 27. These are very, very young athletes who have decided to jump into the pro game and want a long career.”