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Hassan Azim: ‘I might be skinny but I hit really hard’

Hassan Azim
Alex Pantling/Getty Images
Matt Christie speaks to Hassan Azim, a super-lightweight with a heavyweight punch

When and why you started boxing:
I started at age of 12. I joined Dale Youth ABC because my little brother, Adam, started quite young and I’d watched him progress. Once I started, I loved it.

Favourite all-time fighter:
Muhammad Ali, the greatest of all time. He was skilful and powerful and inspired so many people outside the ring. I’d love to be like him one day.

Personal career highlight:
Winning the Youth Olympic bronze medal in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2018. To represent Great Britain, and get a bronze medal, from the tough side of the draw, was amazing.

Toughest opponent:
I’ll say the Russian, Ilya Popov, who beat me in Argentina. You have to remember that was in 2018, though. If I was to fight him now, I would dismantle him.

Best and worst attributes as a boxer:
My best is my power. I hit really hard. And my worst? I don’t know. I’m pretty good at everything. But I suppose I should be better at feinting. At least that’s what my coach Shane McGuigan would say.

Training tip:
If you want to become a boxer you have to work hard and stay focused. Listen to your parents, your coach, and stay off the streets.

Favourite meal/restaurant:
I love food, pretty much everything. A triple gourmet burger, with caramelised onions, the full works, is what I’m craving right now. That’s probably because I have to make weight in a couple of days!

Best friends in boxing:
Everyone at McGuigan’s Gym. We’re all so close, we’re like a family. They are such an inspiration and humble, which is important. Not so long ago, I used to be fans of them and now I train alongside them. It’s a good feeling.

Other sportsperson you would like to be:
I would be footballer, Cristiano Ronaldo. Talented and successful is not a bad combination.

Last film/TV show you saw:
Gotham, which tells the story of how Batman became Batman in the early days. I think Alfred, Bruce Wayne’s butler, is my favourite.

Who would play you in a film of your life:
He would have to be handsome! I would say Keanu Reeves, I’m a big fan.

Last time you cried:
A few months ago when several of my family members passed away from Covid. It seemed to keep happening for a while. Also when Les Stevens, my first coach, passed away. That was hard, he wanted to see me turn professional.

Best advice received:
Take your time, don’t get rush. If I get nervous in my pro debut, to stop and appreciate the moment.

Something not many people know about you:
I might be skinny but I hit really hard, I believe I can hit like a heavyweight.

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