Dalton Smith: This is an opportunity to stamp my name as Sheffield’s next big thing
Sheffield’s super lightweight prospect Dalton Smith has already caught the eye on his way to 11-0, now he’s hoping to steal his own show.
The 25-year-old is headlining in his hometown on Saturday night at Sheffield Arena against Sam O’maison.
“I’m buzzing,” Smith said. “It happened earlier than expected, headlining in my city, but I have a great opponent and I have great support and this is an opportunity to take my career to the next level and mark my name as Sheffield’s next big thing.”
The contest is for the British title and therefore represents a move towards the belts for which he has short, medium and long term aspirations.
“I want to be world champion,” Smith continued. “I wouldn’t be in the game if I didn’t think I could be. I want to be world champion, but these are the stages of the path. I want to win the prestigious belts, British, Commonwealth, European, these traditional belts that have existed for a long time in boxing but I have a job to do and that is to win on Saturday evening. Then we move on, but I’m here for the long haul. I’m only 25, so time is on my side.
It’s not lost on Dalton that many of his favorite fighters took those same steps, and many of them also appeared at the Sheffield Arena where Smith watched them grow, igniting his passion for fighting.
“No. 1 is Kell Brook recently,” Smith said, of some of the fighters he looked up to. “But growing up and going into the arena, I followed Ryan Rhodes, I saw Ricky Hatton there, Clinton Woods, and I used to go watch these guys and go into the arena and see the atmosphere is where I found love, and it’s is me at 25 now. It’s my turn to do it.
Smith went about his business quietly, letting his performances speak for themselves. It’s a trait he inherited from his father, Grant, one of British boxing’s go-to trainers.
But Grant doesn’t like or seek attention. You won’t fight it by doing lots of interviews or showing up for awards or appreciations.
“Anyone who knows my dad knows he’s not one to be in the spotlight,” Dalton continued. “He is there for boxing. All he wants is to train his guys in the gym and win fights. The way boxing is now, you gotta be in the limelight, you gotta be in the media, and that’s where people notice it so my dad doesn’t really get the credit, but as long as he knows his guys win and we get the recognition, that’s good enough for him. But I think now his son is headlining the show, we have the other gym guys, Sunny Edwards, Florian Marku headlining in Albania, his fighters are a force in the boxing scene .
It doesn’t matter to Dalton. He wants his dad to be comfortable, but maybe he could wonder how many top fighters would gravitate to his dad if Grant put himself more in the public eye.
“Be yourself, that’s how I believe I am,” Dalton continued. “I feel like I’m a grounded kid, like everyone else, and that’s how my dad is. He feels like he doesn’t need to be in front of the camera trying to grow the things, he’s just himself. He’s a stubborn man, he’s stuck in his ways, so I let him.
But the gym is busy and there are positive vibes there. So far many of the stable have flown under the radar, but that could be about to change and the achievements will only be due to the clear camaraderie of the gymnasium.
“When we’re in the gym, we have Sunny in there and he’s got one of the best brains in boxing,” Dalton explained. “We have young talent coming in and success breeds success and there’s no ego in our gym, so if you think you can come in and run the show, that’s not happening.”
O’maison is 17-3-1 but has only had one fight in three years. Smith knows what he’s up against, but also knows the pressure to perform at home is on.
“We did a little fighting about five years ago, so we know each other,” Smith said. “Obviously I’ve developed a lot more than him in the last two years with his inactivity, but Sam is a good fighter, he’s got the experience, he’s got the boxing power and brains, so I have to be on it. and sharp on Saturday night. I’ve been training like I do for all my fights and now it’s time for people to see who I really am and I’m going to put on a show.