Adam Azim names Teofimo Lopez as the man to beat at super-lightweight as he targets European title win to lift him onto world stage

The 21-year-old takes on Franck Petitjean for the European title on Saturday.

Adam Azim names Teofimo Lopez as the man to beat at super-lightweight as he targets European title win to lift him onto world stage
Adam Azim
Azim, 21, can make history in his European title fight this weekend (Picture: Getty)

Adam Azim has laid the foundations for a long rivalry with US superstar Keyshawn Davis and identified Teofimo Lopez as the king of the super-lightweight division he is out to dethrone in 2024.

The rising star of British boxing takes the next step in his journey on Saturday as he challenges for the EBU title against Franck Petitjean live on Sky Sports. Beating the seasoned Frenchman will see him make history in becoming the fighter to win the European title in the quickest time in what will be just his 10th professional fight this weekend in Wolverhampton.  

Should he pass this latest test, the 21-year-old believes he can begin looking towards the world title picture next year having made explosive progress in one of boxing’s most compelling divisions.

‘I want it [a title shot] by this time next year, I have to become world champion,’ Azim told Metro.co.uk. ‘That’s my plan. It has been a successful road so far and after this weekend, it will be about assessing and looking at the opportunities to make sure that world title dream happens.’

It is a crowded field among the super-lightweight ranks, however. Having unified the lightweight division, Devin Haney has made the move up to 140lbs where he will challenge Regis Prograis for his WBC (Super) title in December.

But in a stacked division that also includes Ryan Garcia and domestic rival Jack Catterall, Azim believes WBO champion Lopez is the man to beat after his masterful win over Josh Taylor in the summer.

‘Devin is now in this division and he has a very tough fight against Prograis but I don’t see why he can’t beat him because I think Haney is too fast and too sharp,’ Azim said.

Adam Azim
Azim has stopped six of his nine opponents to date (Picture: Getty)

‘He could go onto replicate what he did at lightweight but I think Teofimo beats him. I think he is the man to beat in this weight. Teo has had his problems outside of the ring but he is a great fighter and I can’t see Haney beating him if they do get it on. Teo needs to get those fights in, he has to defend the title.’

Closer to home, Azim shares the super-lightweight division with another emerging star in Dalton Smith, the reigning British and Commonwealth champion. Smith’s promoter’s Matchroom claimed in September they had made a ‘massive offer’ to BOXXER and Azim to make that domestic dust-up happen, talk dismissed as a ‘publicity stunt’ by the young fighter.

The 21-year-old believes he and Smith are on collision course but is also focusing on building towards fights outside of the UK, with American sensation Davis, currently 10-0 at lightweight, among those keeping a watchful eye having called him out last month.

Keyshawn Davis
Azim eager to build a rivalry with Davis (Picture: Getty)

‘I don’t think we even had an offer,’ Azim said of the Smith fight. ‘I think they wanted a way to put a bit of pressure on. But the time will eventually be right for that fight. There is no rush, but the way we are both going at the moment, I think we can both get world titles and we can make it a huge fight.

‘But I’m also looking at other things. I would say Keyshawn is just as much a rival I am looking at right now, maybe more with that US factor. It has a bit more glamour. Fighting in the US is the dream ticket for any fighter.

‘Once you’ve got the name out there, people start calling you out. Keyshawn has started that; he wants a piece of that. It is a big thing.’

Adam Azim
Azim challenges for Petitjean’s EBU title (Picture: Getty)

Azim’s immediate focus is Saturday night. Tyson Fury, Lennox Lewis, George Groves, Darren Barker and Josh Warrington are among the many fighters who took European gold before becoming champions at world level with the Slough fighter looking to join illustrious company.

‘It is a massive title, everyone knows about. It is the last stop before moving onto world level where I want to be and it is the one I wanted to win it before the end of this year,’ he said.

‘These guys are different types of opponents. they are all European level, you don’t joke around. Pettijean is a good fighter, but I feel like once I am in there, I will be able to dominate him quite easy and hopefully get that stoppage.

‘I’m too dangerous for him. He can come at me if he wants. Either way, I am ready to take his head off.’

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