"People in the pro game are saying, 'Trust me, this kid is the real deal'. That carries a bit of weight, doesn't it?"; Matthew Macklin has singled out Adam Azim as a promising prospect for boxing fans to follow
Sunday 26 December 2021 13:37, UK
British boxing has enjoyed another successful year but which exciting talent should we watch out for in 2022? The Panel of experts have picked out thrilling contenders...
Adam Azim. I've got to know Adam in the last few months and he has got incredible talent. In Hassan, he's got a brother who is going to go with him, and he's got a world-class trainer in Shane McGuigan, who believes Adam is the best talent he's ever seen.
He's young, he's got a good family around him, and big support already. I just like him as an all-round package and I'm delighted that he's going to be fighting on the Amir Khan vs Kell Brook show. Watch out for Adam!
I cannot wait to see the development of Caroline Dubois. She's got so much ability. Caroline is from the same McGuigan gym as Adam, she's young, and has a great back story as a member of a fighting family with older brother Daniel.
If I had to choose a talent from another promotional stable, then I also believe Jordan Thompson is one of the best-kept secrets in boxing. I think he'll make great progress at cruiserweight and maybe even one day at heavyweight.
There's some real talent around at the moment and it's really tough to single one out.
Adam Azim has all the qualities needed to become a breakout star. There's ability and then there's marketability. If you want to be a star, you need both.
He's a good looking kid, athletic, has got a flashy style. We haven't seen enough to say how good we think Adam is, but we know he won a lot as an amateur. People in the pro game are saying, 'Trust me, this kid is the real deal'. That carries a bit of weight, doesn't it?
Dennis McCann is another really exciting talent and Hopey Price is also one in that mould. These kids have got a few years left of their development before they go for major titles.
I'm going to say Conor Benn. I think Conor is going to be a world champion, despite having the same criticism as his Dad got. Conor Benn is an exciting talent, he always has been.
But if you're looking outside Conor Benn at British talent, not necessarily young, then I would say Anthony Yarde.
Anthony had to take his licks. He lost to Sergey Kovalev and was criticised for not being able to change his game plan, and not being able to switch things up in the first fight against Lyndon Arthur.
You can see that the experience of these fights had matured him in the Arthur rematch. Sometimes in the fight game, you've got to go through adversity to make yourself a better fighter.
I saw Adam Azim training in the gym as a young kid and most recently I saw his second fight. It reminded me a lot of the first time I saw Josh Taylor fight in Las Vegas on the undercard of Carl Frampton vs Leo Santa Cruz. Josh had so much composure and ability, and I saw the same in Azim last month.
Adam is only two fights into his career and the guy in front of him was levels below, but he's already looking composed and a well-rounded pro. That shows he's got a great boxing brain to begin with and that will only get better.
He's in a great gym with lots of winners. Lawrence Okolie, a world champion, Chris Billam-Smith, a European champion, and some good prospects, as well as his brother Hassan. I look forward to seeing his progression in the next two years.
I'm going to go with Adam Azim. I spoke to Luke Campbell about him, because he used Adam as a sparring partner for the Ryan Garcia fight, and he said that Adam is brilliant. Obviously his trainer Shane McGuigan has already said he's the best person he's ever trained.
I remember him as an amateur. Adam won lots of credentials there. It will be interesting to see, because sometimes you have a brilliant amateur who doesn't light the world up as a pro, like Frankie Gavin and Tom Stalker. But you also get hidden gems every now and again.
Adam Azim has flashy skills, he's exciting and he's eager to entertain. I love that. Boxing is an entertainment business and you really need to put on a show.
With Adam's flamboyant style, that's okay at the current level he's at, but once you start stepping up and the guys can take your power, then that's when we'll find out more about him. It's going to be really interesting to watch him move up through the rankings. That's when the big questions will be answered.
Conor Benn. He's one of those guys that when you switch on pre-fight interviews, he's so passionate about what he's doing and the belief he's got in himself.
When Conor then goes into the ring, he's really entertaining, he wants to smash his opponents to bits, but now he's adding a boxing brain behind it.
Out of all the young prospects coming through, I think Hopey Price is outstanding. He had three fights in 2021. The last two were within a month. One was against a 5-0 Italian prospect, while the other was against a 16-1 local rival in his home city. He was fantastic in both.