ADAM AZIM boxed his way to a 10-round shut-out against Santos Reyes on a night of firsts for Britain’s 140lb superstar-in-waiting.
Azim, headlining a major arena for the first time, had only ever failed to get the stoppage once before, back on his professional debut in 2020 against Ed Harrison over six rounds.
So this was the first time he had ever gone beyond that and it was a surprise to many that he was taken all 10.
It was also the first time in Azim’s career that he has dropped someone, with Reyes floored heavily in the second, but failed to finish the fight.
Even so this was a valuable learning fight for the 20-year-old ‘Assassin’, who was craving rounds after a total of just eight across his five fights during 2022.
“I rate my performance,” Azim said. “It was very tough, I’ve never seen someone who has had eight fights to take someone who is 12-0.
“After the knockdown and he dropped, I thought he was gone because I landed it right on the button, you know people from his country are very tough.”
Azim assumed control from the very first second, controlling the distance with his razor sharp jab and testing the water occasionally with his right hand which he fired straight down the middle or whipped round the side of the guard.
Midway through the second round he landed with it high on his Nicaraguan opponent’s head which sent him stumbling backwards and eventually to the canvas.
Azim pressed on in search of another early knockout but previously undefeated Reyes weathered the storm and tucked up well, even landing a counter left hook of his own before the round was out.
With Reyes blocking many of the head attacks with his gloves, Azim began to direct his attacks downstairs and was having success with an accurate left hook underneath the visitor’s elbow. He took them well, however, and grinned back.
In the fifth Reyes landed his best shot of the fight, another left hook, which snapped the Slough man’s head back but it was only a flash of success with Azim straight back into control.
The last few rounds were essentially target practice, with Azim, working largely in singles and doubles, settling into the role as a low-volume power puncher. As he returned to the corner at the end of the seventh he shook his right hand as if to indicate an injury - but he still threw it until the final bell.
The scores of 100-89 returned by all three judges were no surprise. A valuable night in the office for Azim but there will be more spectacular ones to follow.
His trainer Shane McGuigan said: “This was definitely what we wanted, a knockdown, rounds, experience. These are all the things we needed and we could showcase what we’ve been working on in the gym tonight.”
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