It’s hard for us fighters at the minute, says rising star Dalton Smith

Life as a professional seems to suit Dalton Smith and although he is like any other boxer awaiting news about his next fight, the young Sheffield standout sees the bigger picture in these turbulent times.

Since swapping his Team GB vest for the paid ranks 12 months ago, Smith has won all five bouts although the coronavirus pandemic has put the brakes on his and every other fighter’s ambitions for the time being.

There are fears about how many below the elite level will cope financially but Smith revealed his gratitude to a couple of faithful sponsors who are helping him through the period.

The 23-year-old told the PA news agency: “It’s a bad situation to be in for us fighters, if we don’t fight we don’t get paid. I’m one of the lucky ones who’s got some loyal sponsors, they’ve been able to keep me going financially.

Dalton Smith, right, handed Ibrar Riyaz a rare stoppage defeat (Bradley Collyer/PA)
Dalton Smith, right, handed Ibrar Riyaz a rare stoppage defeat (Bradley Collyer/PA)

“But I know a lot of fighters whose sponsors can’t afford it with the pandemic and everything going on so it’s hard for us fighters at the minute.

“But it’s something we’ve got to deal with and it’s something the whole world is dealing with at the minute. It’s something that I can’t change and we’ve just got to get on with it.”

Smith’s successful switch from the amateurs is all the more compelling given he had four operations on his hands before even starting his professional adventure, where lighter gloves are worn.

Any concerns have so far been dispelled as Smith has stopped all but one of his opponents inside the distance.

The super-lightweight said: “I’ve always had a reputation of being able to bang a little bit so that’s probably why I’ve had the hand injuries!

“In the amateurs, I don’t think the gloves really helped me a lot anyway, just because of the padding in the gloves. But in the professionals you get to wrap your hands how you feel comfortable.

“You get sore hands but nothing compared to what I was getting in the amateurs.

“I had broken bones and screws and plates in my hands from the amateurs. In the pros, it’s littler gloves, longer rounds and my hands have been fine. Hopefully it keeps up like that.”

While Smith’s level of opposition has been understandably unremarkable, he became only the fourth man to stop Ibrar Riyaz, a journeyman with 180 defeats in 190 contests but a boxer renowned for hearing the final bell.

Smith is a long way away from fighting on the world stage or headlining his own shows but he does not have to look far for inspiration given his trainer father, Grant, also coaches former WBC flyweight champion Charlie Edwards.

Smith added: “Sometimes you think: ‘Is it actually possible?’ But I look at the likes of Charlie, my stablemate, and I see what it takes and how hard you have to work to achieve that.

“He’s a massive, massive influence on me. I was in the corner when he won a world title and defended it. Just the experience itself, I learned so much from that and being around the whole atmosphere.

“I’ve got that hunger inside of me, it’s just up to me to work hard and slowly progress and keep stepping up to that level.”