Adam Azim is the most exciting talent in British boxing – bar none.
Only 20 years old, Azim is already headlining cards of Sky Sports and a world title shot has been suggested as early as this year.
His Hollywood good looks and explosive style have drawn comparison with Amir Khan, whom Azim has cited as an inspiration growing up. Ten years from now, the young man might well have achieved as similar status in British boxing.
Azim only got into boxing to find an outlet for his ADHD. "My dad wanted me to get into a sport that could drain my energy!" he tells us. "I tried cricketing but when fielding, I still had that energy. Boxing was the second sport I did, at four years old. Started in a garage and learned the basics."
The full interview is embedded belong, along with some edited extracts. Enjoy!
On his coach Shane McGuigan
"Shane McGuigan believes in me. He sees the talent I have, sees me regularly in the gym, knows what I'm capable of. He knows I'm levels above these other fighters and that's why he's putting me into these fights. I love people that came at me – anyone that engages early with me. These fights I'm taking, they're statement fights against good opponents."
On the winning mentality
"I'm always in the gym, working and learning new things. Sunday's the only rest day for me. Even when I'm off, I'm always watching boxing, studying boxing. Everywhere I go, I'm listening to motivational videos. I love the highlight videos with the Biggie or Tupac background music."
On studying his game
"I write my combinations down in a book. I've got this book where I write down all my combos and what I need to work on. It's good to keep a notepad – once you open that notepad it clicks in your mind that you need to keep working on this specific thing. If I do something wrong, I always write it down. Then I revisit at the end of the week."
On starting boxing young
"I had ADHD when I was young. My dad wanted me to get into a sport that could drain my energy! I always used to visit A & E – every time, the doctors would be like, 'not you again, Adam!' I tried cricketing but when fielding, I still had that energy. Boxing was the second sport I did, at four years old. Started in a garage and learned the basics."
On fighting with ADHD
"When you spar, that's when your anger can be taken out. Shane knew I had ADHD, he saw it in me when I did my pads or bag work. I was very vicious in the ring at an early stage! But as I kept developed, I started to control my ADHD in the ring. I've had a few spars when my ADHD has come out and it kicked off but now I've calmed it down. Every time I get in the ring, I'm a calm guy now. But also angry!"
On Amir Khan
Amir Khan was my inspiration and Amir Khan has been an inspiration for all those youngsters – the British, Asian, Pakistani boxers. There's a lot of Pakistani boxers getting into the sport now which is incredible – back in the Amir Khan days, there was just him, dominating the sport. I want to achieve what Khan did in his career and hopefully do bigger and better things. He's a legend of the sport.
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Watch Adam Azim on February 11, live on Sky Sports