The Monday LunchBox

Exciting prospect Adam Azim celebrates victory.
Photo courtesy BOXXER/Lawrence Lustig.

He goes by the spine-chilling nickname of ‘The Assassin’. Professional boxing is full of them. Think ‘The Hitman’, ‘Dark Destroyer’, ‘Iron Mike’, a billing to get bums on seats and people to tune in at home. However, with every assassin the gun sometimes jams or they withdraw their aim to seek another day or target.

The reality of the situation here is that Saturday night at Wembley Arena marked the most important fight and performance to date in Adam Azim’s fledgling young career. The Slough, Berkshire-born junior welterweight (10st/140lbs) won his eighth professional fight unanimously on points against previously undefeated Nicaraguan Santos Reyes.

It was Azim’s first ten round fight and in an 8-0 (6 KO’s) record the first time he’d been extended like this. Going into the fight he’d accumulated only nine minutes of action in dispatching his previous opponents, sometimes with ruthless efficiency, befitting of his moniker. It had garnered him British Prospect/Young Fighter of 2022 recognition and he’s sure to be coronated in next month’s British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) awards ceremony.

He is, simply, the brightest prospect in the country. His female boxing equivalent is lightweight ‘Sweet’ Caroline Dubois who was also victorious on the BOXXER promoted card Saturday. Both are being carefully matched and guided through their early careers by that organisation, along with respected trainer Shane McGuigan. Much is expected from both.

The 20 year old Azim was extended by an undefeated, technically cute Reyes, who without a concussive punch, was able to navigate the ten rounds through fistic knowledge and guile. All prospects need this test as early in their careers as possible. Comparisons have been made with ‘Prince’ Naseem Hamed and Amir Khan due to the Brit’s Asian heritage and promise. Let’s compare this more fully.

Hamed in this eighth contest beat domestic rival Kevin Jenkins in Mansfield by third round TKO, he would win the European bantamweight title on points in his twelfth fight. His first and only other points victory was in his sixth contest.

Khan beat domestic rival Colin Bain by TKO in July 2006 in his eighth professional contest and be extended to points victories a fight earlier and also in his second contest. Like Hamed, he would go on to win multiple world titles.

In both cases Azim is slightly ahead of the curve and promises similar success. But yet, it is only promise.

So far he’s looked the real deal with an exciting style and knockout ratio. Our view is he learned more on Saturday than in his previous seven contests. For the first time, despite dropping his opponent in round two, he was extended the full distance and although dominant throughout, he was faced with an opponent who could withstand his onslaughts.

To Azim’s credit he answered any questions about his stamina, going into the tenth he was still fresh and didn’t look troubled or unduly concerned by being extended. Whilst Reyes didn’t also bring the threat of power to answer Azim’s advances, he forced the Brit to find a way to navigate his ‘peek a boo’ defensive style. Azim was made to think carefully about his route in opening up the Nicaraguan. This he passed as he regularly landed a strong jab followed up by big right hand crosses. This was supplemented by a good and regular body attack. The education and advancement on the night was perfect and will hold Azim in good stead for future challenges.

He did not become frustrated by repeated failure to stop his opponent and boxed efficiently to a convincing victory. Cards were 100-89 in his favour with the second round being scored 10-8 due to the knockdown. He also ticked off his first headlining of an event at a major boxing venue.

Caroline Dubois was equally impressive in dispatching Tanzanian Feriche Mashaury after 0.47 of round three. She continues to show excellent promise in compiling her undefeated record and will likely challenge for titles in the next 12 months.

There were also impressive wins for Zak Chelli on points over experienced American Anthony Sims at super-middleweight and Viddal Riley halting Anees Taj at cruiserweight on a bad cut. Midlander Tyler Denny also successfully defended his British middleweight title over Cornwall’s Brad Pauls by unanimous decision in the most competitive fight of the night. Denny should soon get a deserved shot at the British title held by Denzel Bentley.

The impressive Adam Azim rightly headlined and stole the show bagging a solid learning fight against an undefeated international opponent. The future looks bright and he will gain much from this experience.

He was also joined in victory by his brother welterweight Hassan Azim on an excellent night of boxing.

This weekly feature is to also raise awareness of the Ringside Charitable Trust.

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