Dalton Smith working hard to make certain of victory over Billy Allington
British super-lightweight champion Dalton Smith is one of the UK’s brightest prospects and he has another chance to shine when he takes on Billy Allington in Nottingham this weekend.
Allington is 10-1-4 and has yet to score a stoppage win, while Sheffield’s Smith is an in form 13-0 with 10 early victories. But the champion is taking nothing for granted ahead of Saturday’s fight.
“He’s an old dog, he’s game, I’ve seen a couple of his fights and he’s fit, strong and he keeps going,” said Smith, of his opponent. “He’s got a big heart, but I work hard in the gym because you can’t overlook anybody and I’m looking forward to a good fight, but I believe this will be a fight where I do it in style.”
Smith has been catching the eye and expectations are starting to soar. He’s from the Steel City boxing gym that is home to flyweight king Sunny Edwards and he’s trained by his father, Grant.
“As long as you’re winning the pressure’s going to come with it,” the 26-yer-old admitted. “I’ve got a good team around me. All I have to do is train as hard as I can and do everything I do in the ring and it will all come together. I’m not in there to impress nobody else apart from me and as long as I’m going in there and doing it for me, everything will fall into place.”
Smith has plenty of momentum and seasoned observers have started tipping him for big things. It’s something he’s aware of, but something he’s not focusing on.
“It is a confidence booster but sometimes it can go the other way,” Smith continued. “I’d like to think I’m a pretty grounded lad and I keep my feet on the ground. It is nice to have the eyes on me but I’ve got to keep proving what I’m all about.”
Which means he needs to get by the 28-year-old Allington and then all of his attention will turn to the main event, which sees Leigh Wood face Mexican Mauricio Lara. Smith has trained alongside Wood in the past.
“I’ve always rated Leigh as a fighter,” Smith said, adding that Wood is a lesson in consistency and hard work. “He did it the hard way and now the sky’s the limit for him and he’s at the top of the mountain.
“I think it [Wood-Lara]’s going to be fireworks,” Smith continued. “I don’t think it will go the distance but I’m confident in Leigh. It’s a fight he didn’t have to take but it shows what type of fighter he is and he’s going to have a hell of a Rocky story by the end of his career because he’s been in some great fights.”
Then, next week, Smith is planning on being back in the gym with his father Grant, who not only has done great work with Dalton and Edwards, but who now also trains Albanian puncher Florian Marku, yet Grant continues to operate under the radar.
Grant Smith is quickly building his reputation as one of the best coaches in the UK, and Dalton can see that his father is not getting too much widespread credit or coverage. Grant shies away from the latter.
“I just think it’s the world we live in, everything on social media and my dad’s not one for the cameras and he never has been,” Dalton added. “He’s not bothered about all that, but this is just the harsh reality of what we live in. You see it with the YouTube boxing, they’re bigger names than some of the world class fighters. But he doesn’t take it to heart, he’s not too bothered about that. You need that platform, you need to put yourself out there, you need your face on cameras, but he’s not bothered about that. He’s old school. As long as he gets the results, that’s all he wants. You get a few coaches like that, you can see Rob McCracken, he’s the same. He’s not on social media, you don’t see him on TV as much. They do what works for them and it doesn’t mean they’re a better coach or a worse coach than the others it’s just some like to be in front of the cameras and some don’t, but there are a lot of good coaches out there. I believe my dad’s up there with the very best, if not I believe he is the best, but as long as he gets results that’s all he wants.”