BN: Fans would want to know why Adam Azim has vacated his European title instead of facing Dalton Smith. What’s your response?

Shalom: It was hard to make a decision, but we had to weigh up the options. Harlem Eubank was one of those options.

In his [Azim] career most people in and around boxing would know that the Dalton Smith fight doesn’t make sense for him at this stage of his career. From a financial point of view, from a development point of view, almost every point of view. Especially when there’s such attractive options on the table. Our interest is in Adam’s development and you get the opportunity to fight a Eubank, especially an unbeaten one.

Harlem’s had a fantastic couple of years where he’s really announced himself. This is as much about Harlem Eubank as it is about Adam Azim. We think it’s a huge fight and the right one for Adam next. The Fabio Wardley-Frazer Clarke scenario taught me that fights only get bigger if done at the right time and that’s broke absolute records. Adam’s 21 years old and it’s my duty to put him first rather than looking to cash him out. That’s not the business we’re in.

BN: Will Azim-Eubank be a main event or feature on an undercard?

Shalom: We’re actually still looking at that. It will happen early summer and we’re just assessing our options and venues at the moment. We’ll hopefully make an announcement in the next week or so.

BN: Any news on the Chris Billam-Smith vs. Richard Riakporhe rematch?

Shalom: We have now decided on a date, and we will announce the venue next week 100 per cent. It’s a huge fight and everything’s agreed.

BN: Is Joshua Buatsi vs. Anthony Yarde going to happen?

Shalom: It is, I believe. Everything’s done, everything’s ready to go. And they’ve [Queensberry] got to make an agreement with Anthony. But I believe it happens this summer and I really hope it does.

BN: Would you like to see a Wardley-Clarke rematch or something that’s less demanding for them first given their extraordinary efforts last Sunday.

Shalom: I think it is a good argument and it’s not one I’ve really been faced with before. But such was the unique nature of that fight then I think there has to be consideration from both parties.

As much as fans really want to see the rematch, I really want to see the rematch. It’s going to generate even more money than you can imagine, and I do think it’s an inevitability. That narrative, that storyline has gripped the nation but there will be a question of when. Especially to allow both fighters to recover.

It was something so intense and so exhilarating and so gruelling. I think Fabio probably needs more time than Frazer given the injuries to his face and nose. That might force our hand a bit as well. It definitely will be a consideration without a doubt for the fans and the fighters as to when it happens and when it’s safe to happen. I think that has to be at the forefront.

BN: Lauren Price’s world title fight against Jessica McCaskill will be shown on BBC Wales in conjunction with Sky. Is that BBC link-up something fans can expect more of in the future or is it a one-off?

Shalom: I think so. For us I’ve always seen our job as to get as much exposure as possible for our fighters. You have to look at how superstars are created and it’s about putting them in front of the biggest audience possible and getting them into the mainstream consciousness, the casual fans.

Lauren Price is a superstar in Wales. She’s a national icon, she’s a gold medallist, she’s an MBE and the appetite we’re seeing in the tickets to come and see her is absolutely incredible. Did I think she would become our biggest ticket-seller? No. But it’s incredible now what she’s doing in only her seventh fight. We sat down as a team and thought wouldn’t it be amazing if everyone in Wales could watch Lauren Price try to become a world champion at this stage in her career in a very tough fight. What a spectacle that would be.

The legacy Katie Taylor has in Ireland we believe if promoted correctly Lauren Price can have that in Wales. For this fight it felt extremely important. I have to thank Sky as well; they do have the exclusive rights but they were willing to this deal with us and the BBC and get Lauren in front of the whole of Wales and get the whole of the nation behind her is amazing. It’s the same reason we went on Easter Sunday [with Wardley vs. Clarke]. You see the noise it’s creating for both of them and Frazer Clarke in particular. I think it’s really important in breakout fights that they get the biggest audience possible and that’s always been the strategy.

BN: Will you be adding any new faces at Boxxer?

Shalom: There’s a couple that we’ve got our eye on. But I think for us we’ve been so focused on gathering a stable in a very quick, short amount of time. It comes to the point you’ve got to deliver. Anyone that signs for us we want them to know that we deliver.

The focus this year was getting Tasha Jonas her homecoming fight, getting Buatsi his big breakout fight, getting Frazer [Clarke] his fight, building Ben Whittaker, getting Adam Azim his fight. Lauren Price now has her world title fight, Richard Riakporhe has his world title shot, Lawrence Okolie has his world title shot. Our focus is currently delivering for the stable we’ve got. I think we’ve got an unbelievable set of talent. They could be the faces and the future stars of boxing and we’re very content with that. If there was something extra special, we’d be interested, obviously.

We’ll be watching Paris 2024 with a keen eye. I don’t think it will be as crucial to our business as the Tokyo Games was which has formed a huge core of our stable and was so important to us. Given the stage of our business at that point it was a real priority. But it would take something special at this stage or a diamond in the rough. Callum Simpson always springs to mind.


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