Despite being one of most hyped prospects in the recent history of British boxing, Adam Azim takes pressure in his stride.
The 21-year-old was earmarked as a future star even before making his professional debut in 2020, and was named as ‘the brightest talent in British boxing’ by promoter Ben Shalom last year.
For Azim though, his recent success has come as no surprise.
First stepping into the ring aged just four, the light welterweight was blessed with an early sparring partner in the form of his older brother Hassan, who has also embarked on a undefeated run as a professional.
‘It was quite competitive. We would fight over the remote for the TV or anything like that.’ Azim told Mail Sport.
Adam Azim returns to the ring on Saturday night in the biggest test of his pro career to date
The light welterweight has earned a reputation as one of the UK’s brightest prospects
The 21-year-old (left) is set to take on 23-1 IBO international champion Aram Fanyan (right) on the Smith vs Eubank Jnr II event on Saturday night in Manchester
‘If we had an argument at home we ended up taking it to to the back garden and having a sparring session.
‘I do say that I won some of the rounds, not most of the rounds, but some of the rounds [laughs], but it would be a 50-50 spar.’
The pair grew up watching Amir Khan, the Olympic silver medalist in Athens who went on to become the first, and to date, only British fighter of Pakistani origin to win a world title in the squared circle.
Azim explained that Khan’s achievements set a benchmark for the young boxers in his community, and added that he hopes to replicate the former unified light-welterweight champion’s achievements on the world stage.
‘Seeing Amir Khan, with all things he achieved being the only British Pakistani world champion, hopefully that will be me next, and there’ll be more British Pakistani boxers as well.
‘There’s a lot of talent coming through and all of us that are coming up in the British Pakistani community. We all want to live up to Amir Khan.
‘He’s done it, so it’s a massive massive thing for all of us because we want to be like him and become world champions.’
Emerging as a burgeoning draw just eight fights into his career, Azim was scheduled to headline the BOXXER Fight Night bill at York Hall in June against the IBO international champion Aram Fanyan in June.
Azim added that he and his brother Hassan grew up idolising Olympic medallist Amir Khan
Khan became the first British Pakistani boxer to win a world title when he defeated Andreas Kotelnik in 2009
Just two days before he was set to take the ring, The Assassin was forced to withdraw from the fight after sustaining an infection in his hand when he suffered a cut on the knuckle in training.
‘It was very depressing when I had to pull out because of my hand. Obviously I was in agony,’ he said.
‘When I was sparring every time I was hitting the shots with my left hand it was hurting so it’s just unfortunate, but everything happens for a reason and the recovery process went really well.’
Although the headline bout was cancelled, the matchup was rescheduled and Azim will now face the 23-1 Ukrainian on an even bigger stage, fighting on the pay-per-view card of the highly-anticipated rematch between Liam Smith and Chris Eubank Jnr on Saturday night.
Despite being featured significantly more prominently than most other boxers less than three years into their professional career, Azim insisted that nerves do not factor into his performances inside the ring.
‘I thrive with all the pressure on me.’ He continued.
‘I don’t necessarily feel the pressure because because I know that if I train hard and have no distractions and people keep talking about me then, there’s no reason to feel pressure.
Azim tipped Liam Smith to once again defeat Chris Eubank Jnr in their rematch on Saturday
The former world champion scored a fourth-round KO when they first met back in January
‘I’ve done all my work in the gym, so when it comes to having all eyes on me, I just take it in and use it as motivation.’
Asked who he believes will emerge victorious in Saturday’s main event at the AO Arena in Manchester, Azim tipped Smith to repeat his success from the first fight and emerge victorious.
‘It’s just a great fight for the fans, obviously it’s number two. When you look at it, a lot of people are gonna be leaning towards Liam Smith and I would say [he] can do it again.
‘Obviously I’ve seen that Eubank has recently changed trainer late in the camp and you can’t really learn much [doing that].
‘Moving to a new trainer late in your camp. It’s not necessarily going to help so I think Liam Smith could win again by knockout.’