Dalton Smith: Aiming Low, Eddie Hearn: Aiming High

Promoter Eddie Hearn admitted that he wasn’t pleased to hear Dalton Smith (16-0, 12 KOs) calling out 21-year-old EBU 140-lb champion Adam Azim rather than focusing on world titles following his fifth-round knockout win over Jose Zepeda (37-5, 28 KOs) to win the vacant WBC light welterweight title on Saturday night at the Sheffield Arena in Sheffield, England.

Hearn Wants Big Leaps, Not Baby Steps

Hearn wants the 27-year-old Dalton Smith, who is older than three of the world champions at 140, to focus on fighting for the title against one of the champs at light welterweight, preferably WBC belt-holder Devin Haney.

Smith had his own ideas, calling out Azim, who is in the same boat as journeyman Jose Zededa, in that he’s not ranked in the top 15 by any of the four sanctioning bodies. Hearn points out that Dalton wants to capture the EBU title, be it against Azim or for the vacant belt.

It would mean something if fighting for that belt would improve Smith to get him ready to potentially challenge Haney for his WBC belt or IBF champ Subriel Matias, but it won’t. Azim is nowhere near the level of those fighters, and it’s a meaningless fight for Smith to face him.

Eddie’s Master Plan

“He says he still wants to win the EBU title. I say I’m not bothered by that. Of course, I am,” said promoter Eddie Hearn to Charlie Parson’s YouTube channel, reacting to Dalton Smith wanting to fight the 21-year-old EBU 140-lb champion Adam Azim next rather than fighting for a world title against the winner of WBC light welterweight champ Devin Haney and Ryan Garcia.

“I want him to go on and win a world title, but I want him to be in big fights. Of course, the Azim fight is a big fight, but are they ready to gamble? You’re not going to get it, so get out of the way. This kid is going all the way, a world class fighter,’ said Hearn about Dalton.

The confidence obviously isn’t where it should be with Dalton; hence, he’s comfortable targeting Azim rather than going after one of the world titles.

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