ONE of the most influential figures in boxing is backing two brothers from Slough in becoming future stars of the sport. 

Adam Smith, Head of Boxing Development at Sky Sports, predicts a bright future for Hassan and Adam Azim, aged 21 and 20 respectively.  

The next outing for the talented duo will be at Wembley Arena this Saturday, on the undercard of Richard Riakporhe's clash with fellow Londoner Deion Jumah.   However, the long-term plan of their promoters, Boxxer, led by Ben Shalom, with the help of their broadcasting partners, is to make the siblings headline attractions in their own right.  

Speaking with the Asian Image, Smith said: “When we began our relationship with Ben, I told him I want a diverse group of boxers to work with.  By that, I meant male, female and those from different ethnicities, as such diversity reflects modern society. 

“I’ve got to know Hassan and Adam very well. They have a very supportive family and a big fan base in Slough, which will only grow, especially with the exposure on our platform. 

“Both were excellent amateurs and now they have to translate such pedigree as professional prizefighters.  Hassan came later into the sport, so they might take their time with him but Adam is someone they are likely to fast track.”    

Smith, who also performs commentary and presenting duties, has witnessed and overseen the rise of Naseem Hamed, Ricky Hatton, Joe Calzaghe and Amir Khan on Sky Sports. He is particularly excited about the fortunes of his namesake.  

Smith added: “When you have someone like Shane McGuigan say that Adam is the most talented boxer he has trained, then you have to sit up and take notice, especially given some of the high-profile fighters he has worked with. 

“I’ve been involved boxing for a long time and I keep my ear to the ground. A number of people in the game are telling me that he’s the real deal.  I appreciate its early days but he has done what has been expected of him and looked very good in doing so.” 

Smith concedes such high praise could overwhelm a young prospect who has only had three professional contests to date. 

He adds: “Of course there is a risk, but you have to deal with the pressure. Promoters and broadcasters are looking for the next big-name of the sport. You have to stand out from the crowd. You have to bring something different to the table and that’s both inside and outside of the ring. 

“It will be naive not to expect some bumps along the way but we have built up fighters in the past and there is no reason why we can’t do that again.”