Promoter Eddie Hearn threw the gauntlet down to European super lightweight champion Adam Azim after Dalton Smith stormed to a comprehensive win over Jose Zepeda.

Smith, 16-0 (12 KOs), sent his Sheffield fans home elated after a superb fifth-round body shot finish to Californian veteran Zepeda and the 27-year-old’s attention quickly switched to his domestic rival.

Smith holds the British and Commonwealth champion and Azim, 11-0 (8 KOs), is the European champion. 

The British Boxing Board of Control have ordered the fight, as has the European Boxing Union, and purse bids are imminent.

“I haven’t got too much to say to Adam Azim other than I dare you,” Hearn said. “I dare you to fight Dalton Smith. The British Boxing Board of Control have ordered it, the European title have ordered it, your belt, there is no reason that you won’t fight this man other than he’s too good. But what we want to do is chase the world championship, but we will drop back down the levels to fight Adam Azim if we have to give Sheffield a big fight. Okay? 

“With all due respect, Adam Azim, tremendous fighter. Right now, [he] couldn’t lace this man’s boots. We’re going for the world championship. Get out the way, we’re coming through.”

Smith won the WBC silver title, and Hearn hopes that piece of business will earn his man a top five ranking in line for Devin Haney’s 140lbs belt.   

“That was a world class performance,” Hearn continued. “I was nervous tonight, because that guy is a hell of a fighter, he can punch, and no one has ever made him stay on the canvas and not beat the count other than Dalton Smith in his entire career. That was a major statement at world level.” 

Hearn wants Smith to continue building to a world title fight at Hillsborough football stadium, home of Smith’s Sheffield Wednesday Football Club.

“He told me, I want to work my way towards the WBC world championship and tonight we’ve done that,” said Hearn. “I believe we’re going to go in to the top five, look at the 140-pounders that we’ve got and we work with; Devin Haney, Subriel Matias, Richardson Hitchins, Regis Prograis, Jack Catterall, Liam Paro, the list is endless, but this young man is now 16-0 and well on his way to a world championship shot.”