This exciting edition of Debut Corner features Sheffield's most decorated amateur of all-time, Dalton Smith, as he is unveiled as Matchroom Boxing’s newest recruit.
The Steel City Gym star is already a big name in the unpaid code and now moves over to the paid ranks with an incredible amateur pedigree, an all-star winning team, and a huge promotional outfit behind him.
Here’s what the 22-year-old Team GB boxer had to say:
What made you want to start boxing?
“I was five or six when my dad took me to a boxing gym next to the pitch where I used to play football. My dad gave me the choice between boxing and football, but he made my mind up for me when he said I weren’t that good at football! So, I chose boxing and I’m still a terrible footballer even now!
It’s the Steel City Gym that I went to and I’m still at now; that’s when my dad [Grant Smith] first got into coaching, obviously he’s the Head Coach now and trains Charlie Edwards. He was a coach at first and then took the gym over, but as far as I’ve ever known, my dad’s always been a coach there.”
Who was your boxing hero growing up and why?
“I watched a lot of Joe Calzaghe and I had that connection with the father-son team. I loved his style and everything about him. My best fighter at the moment is Canelo Alvarez.”
How old were you when you had your first fight and how did you do?
“I think you’re allowed to be 10 now, but it was 11 when I started, and I remember it well because it was on my 11th birthday! I won on points, it was scheduled to be a proper fight but ended up being a skills bout, but I had my first proper fight a week after when I finally got my medicals back.”
How well did you do in the amateurs?
“I’ve always been successful from the first schoolboys onwards. I won every national title from schoolboys to seniors. I first represented England when I was 13 in the Europeans, I’ve been to a few European championships, a few Youth Worlds, then I got on to Team GB and won a few gold medals, so pretty successful in the amateurs.”
What made you decide to turn pro?
“It was a couple of things, really. I was gutted because it was my dream to represent Great Britain at the Olympics, but the decision to join the 60kg and 64kg weights at a new 63kg weight would have meant that I would have struggled to make the weight every day. I was a big light-welter at 64kg, so me and dad sat down over Christmas and decided it’s best to turn pro.
I aim to be super-lightweight in the pros but I need to find where I’m comfortable and I can settle in and grow into the weight, I’m only 22 so will fill out into a man and get bigger over time.”
What team do you have around you?
“I’m training full-time at my dad’s gym – Steel City Gym – training with Charlie and Sunny Edwards, Kyle Yousaf, Christian Kinsiona, Levi Kinsiona. My dad coaches all of us. I spar Levi a lot, but had hand injuries, so I’m not starting sparring for my pro debut until next week. Obviously, Team GB headquarters are on our doorstep, so will still be going down there for sparring, as I’ve still got a good relationship with the coaches there and Rob McCracken.”
What did the Team GB experience bring?
“I’ve been so successful in my amateur career, and I’ve always trained the right way with my dad. I’m also a believer of the saying ‘if it’s not broke, don’t fix it’, but joining Team GB brought little things in and taught me stuff I didn’t know before, so you can’t beat the experience. They’ve got the best in every department – the best nutritionists, sciences, physio’s, so just can’t beat it.”
What sort of fighting style do you have?
“To be honest, I think my style will suit the pro game better because I like to sit down on my shots. My style is best described as a mid-range counter-puncher – that’s why I like Canelo so much – but I can mix it up as well.”
What ambitions do you have for your pro career?
“Obviously, early on in my pro career, I just want to settle into the pro game and find my comfortable weight category. I’m looking to be pretty active this year and to make name in the light-welterweights and move on to fight for a title next year.
The long-term goal is to keep winning and to one day become world champion.”
When is your first fight and who will be there in support?
“Matchroom show in May.”
For tickets to the debut fight please visit: buymyfight.com
To follow Dalton on Twitter, click here @daltonsmith08