Dalton Smith scores career-best win, knocks out Jose Zepeda in five and calls out Adam Azim – Ring News 24 | Boxing News

Dalton Smith (right) lands the fight-ending blow on Jose Zepeda. Photo credit: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxiung

Undefeated British junior welterweight Dalton ‘Thunder’ Smith 16-0 (12) has effectively ended the career of longtime contender Jose ‘Chon’ Zepeda 37-5 (28) with a right hand to the body in the fifth round at the Utilita Arena in Sheffield, England on Saturday night.

After a cagey two rounds that saw American southpaw Zepeda, 34, press the action while Smith looked for openings to counter, the 27-year-old Brit began to find his range for his straight right hand in the third.

By the fourth Smith had settled into a comfortable rhythm, reading Zepeda’s shots well and finding openings for both hands.

The fight appear close going into the fifth and was progressing on even terms when Smith found the fight ending shot. Pivoting to put his whole weight behind the blow, Smith landed a crunching right hand to the body that appeared to target Zepeda’s spine.

After a split second, Zepeda doubled over in pain and sunk to his knees, never a chance to beat the count. Referee Victor Loughlin counted him at the 1:25 mark, giving Smith the biggest win of his five-year pro career.

Smith admitted afterwards that he felt the pressure going in to the fight.

“A lot of people thought this fight was too soon for me and I’ve had a couple of dreams about getting knocked out tonight, but that’s what made me train harder and I showed where I belong tonight,” said Smith.

“I don’t speak much rubbish, I do my talking in the ring and I’ve done exactly that tonight.

“I hit him with some clean shots and I was thinking I could hurt him here. I can put people to sleep.”

Smith, who is ranked by the WBC at number 15 in the 140-pound division, called out European champion Adam Azim 11-0 (8) after his latest victory.

“I don’t call many names out, but Adam Azim, where are you at?” Smith said. “Before the fight I had to keep focus but there’s one reason Adam hasn’t vacated that title; it’s because he thought I was going to lose tonight. But do you know what? I bet he vacates now.

“It takes two to tango, I’m here to fight. I’ve got respect for Adam, he’s a lovely kid, but the European title is something I want to get and he’s in the way of that. Look, if you want to wait a couple of years and develop, fine. But don’t hold on to the belt, vacate.”

Promoter Eddie Hearn added his two cents. Addressing Azim, he said simply: “I dare you.”

Responding on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, Azim said he was down for the fight.

“Great performance Dalton Smith over Zepeda,” Azim posted. “Adam Azim vs Dalton Smith will happen you don’t need to be worried about that.”