ADAM AZIM will fight Dalton Smith this year but it might not happen next, according to his promoter Ben Shalom.

Smith has been installed as mandatory challenger for Azim’s European light-welterweight title and a purse bid has been called for April 1.

The pair have both been steadily climbing the ranks but are aligned with different promoters with Azim signed to Boxxer and Smith with Matchroom.

However, the EBU pushed the pair together and Azim will have to relinquish the European title he won by beating Franck Petitjean last year if he decides against facing Smith next.

Now his promoter Shalom has opened the door to that possibility insisting Azim’s next fight will be against the opponent that makes the most sense for his career.

On the purse bid, Shalom told Boxing News: “I think if Adam wants the fight next, then we will go big. But ultimately it will be up to him and his team and we will speak to them this week to see whether that’s the next fight or one for later in the year.

“We want to make the fight and it will go wherever the best place is and usually that means who will pay for it. It’s definitely a fight we want to see this year but ultimately it will end up with Team Azim whether they see that fight as next.

“His aim is to become a world champion so I don’t think being European is the driving force for anything really. I think his focus is deciding what is the right fight next, who is the right opponent.”

Should Azim and his manager and head trainer Shane McGuigan opt to vacate the title and box someone other than Smith, they will be accused of ducking the undefeated Sheffield man.

Smith, meanwhile, has to get past Jose Zepeda on March 23 but they will be pushing hard for the Azim fight should he be successful.

Shalom said: “There are arguments for and against taking the fight. Sometimes I’m the one that’s blamed but the reasons could be, he’s 21. He’s had a rapid rise but he wants the big nights down the line. It could be that his profile is in a different place to Dalton Smith, no disrespect to him, and casual fans know who Adam Azim is. I can see why a lot of fighters want to fight him.

“His team might decide that given he’s only 21 and still learning that there are more suitable fights out there for him at this stage.

“As a boxing fan, I want to see this fight next but his team will make a decision on whether it’s the next fight or whether it’s later in the year. It’s inevitable it’s going to happen, similar to Wardley-Clarke one, it’s ultimately down to the team as to when it happens.”