Ben Shalom issues fiery response to Eddie Hearn as ‘ducking’ accusation made – EXCLUSIVE | Boxing | Sport

Ben Shalom issues fiery response to Eddie Hearn as 'ducking' accusation made - EXCLUSIVE | Boxing | Sport

BOXXER chief Ben Shalom has fired back at Eddie Hearn after he was accused of ‘ducking’ a fight between Adam Azim and Matchroom fighter Dalton Smith. Azim was recently ordered to defend his European super-lightweight title against Smith but is set to face Harlem Eubank instead after vacating the belt.

Earlier this week, Hearn suggested that Shalom was ‘ducking’ fights as a result of the decision to pit Azim against Eubank and not Smith. A similar row took place last year when Frazer Clarke was pulled out of a proposed bout with Matchroom fighter Fabio Wardley on the day of the purse bids.

The heavyweight bout finally happened last weekend, ending in a split draw after 12 gruelling rounds with Clarke overcoming a knockdown and a point deduction to finish with honours even.

Asked by Express Sport for his thoughts on Hearn’s latest comments about Azim and Smith, Shalom replied: “I think it’s the same people who would say Frazer Clarke was ducking Fabio Wardley, which he clearly wasn’t.

“He clearly took the fight at the right time, or maybe even possibly too early. It created an absolute monster event and both fighters are very glad that it happened and they both earned lots of money for that fight.

“Adam Azim is very early in his career. I’d love to see who Dalton Smith was fighting at 21 years old. I don’t think he was even a professional, and the Eubank name is irresistible from a promotional point of view.

“It’s a huge fight, a huge one for Harlem Eubank and a huge, huge fight for Adam Azim. Weighing up the options, it’s clearly the better option and I think it’s the right move for his career.

“The Dalton Smith fight will happen and both fighters will be very pleased when it happens because they are going to make a lot more money. It’s going to be at the right time for Adam Azim. The issue we have is that these fighters are building.

“They’re not just becoming talented fighters, they’re becoming showmen, superstars, celebrities, and everyone wants a piece of them and everyone wants to catch them early. Eddie is a very skilled promoter to put that pressure on.”

Tensions have risen between Shalom and Hearn in recent months, with the pair often sending shots at each other in media interviews.

When asked if the fraught relations between BOXXER and Matchroom will pose an issue when it comes to getting Azim and Smith in the ring together, Shalom added: “I hope not. It has been difficult. Obviously, he points to the purse bids.

“We’re constantly under fire from him and his merry men, so to speak, whether that’s in interviews or in any way they can. We’re just building the stars that we believe are the future of British boxing and of course we will have sensible conversations with him and make the best fights we possibly can. That’s our mission.”

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