Beaten but unbowed Sam Smith sets title target

Leeds pro boxer Sam Smith training at her gym in Crossgates (Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe)
Leeds pro boxer Sam Smith training at her gym in Crossgates (Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe)
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ROTHWELL’S Sam Smith may have just returned from a European title shot in Madrid but this boxer already has her sights set on another title charge later this year.

Smith, 39, lost out on the lightweight title on March 22 to Spaniard Miriam Gutierrez despite an explosive opening from her.

It followed last June’s defeat to Malawi’s Anisha Basheel for the Commonwealth title but Smith says the fight was a brilliant experience and a step in the right direction.

“Any title of that level is some achievement for anyone and, obviously, I grew up on a council estate and had a dream to box before I turned pro. So, for me, it was like a world-title shot. It was basically all down to my manager, Steve Goodwin,” Smith told the YEP.

“We didn’t get the win in Madrid but we always knew if it went to points it wasn’t going to go our way, we knew that from the offset and it’s pretty well known in boxing that you’ve got to win either by a knockout or very convincingly. We knew all that before we left but opportunities like that you grab them with both hands and take it.”

It has been no easy road for Smith, a mother of 21-month old twins, as she tries to balance her rigorous training regime, home life and job as a painter and decorator.

Boxing has, however, taught Smith self-discipline and she was confident in her preparations heading into Madrid’s title effort.

“In the first three rounds, I shook her. I can’t remember if it was the second or third, but in one of those rounds I hurt her quite badly,” she continued.

“When I went back to the corner we were thinking ‘right, this is it, we’ve got it and we’re taking her out of here’ and credit where credit’s due they had a Plan B.

“She got on her toes and pretty much just moved for the rest of the fight.

“I couldn’t get her to stay still long enough to get the shots off.”

Madrid was the 12th fight of Smith’s professional career with nine having ended in victory.

She now has one eye on another title shot in September, potentially on home soil, but she will have to fight another, as yet unconfirmed, bout before then to qualify.

It is the fine margins that gives Smith the edge, even if she compares her grueling training regime as being ‘worse than prison’.

“Even when you’re in prison you get perks,” she said.

“When you’re a boxer, everything is dictated: how many hours of sleep you get, what time you go to bed, what food you put in, when you go to training.

“Most of the work is done outside the gym when you’re on your own, making sure you’re disciplined, making sure you’re not cheating with your food, it’s 24-seven.”

“Everything has to be boxing and then your life has to fit in as and where around it. If there’s no space for it, there’s no space for it. Boxing just consumes everything.”