FOR such a young sportsman, Dalton Smith just oozes class.
You would have forgiven the City of Sheffield pupil if he had opted to take a break from boxing after claiming his third ABA Nationals School Championship title in a row last Sunday.
But the hard-working 14-year-old, who trains three hours every day at the Steel City Amateur Boxing Gym, returned to the ring the following day, determined to keep on improving all aspects of his performance.
Grant Smith, Dalton’s father and coach at the Steel City Boxing Club, told The Star: “He lives, sleeps and breathes the sport.”
Rising star Dalton received a pair of golden gloves in the wake of his 19-6 triumph over Andreas Wallace in the final of the class two 44kg category at Gorton’s Cedar Mount Sports Hall in Manchester.
“It was great winning it again,” said Dalton. “My dad deserves a lot of credit for my success.
“He constantly tells me what I need to do and where I have to get better. We do argue from time to time but we have a very close relationship. He is my hero.”
Grant added: “Dalton performed very well in the final. A lot of people came up to me at the end and said it was a great display. Some of the England coaches were watching and pulled me to one side at the end and said he is progressing great. That was music to my ears.”
In May, Dalton will represent his country, having been called up to the Great Britain squad for the British Championships. The youngster, currently learning Spanish, says his long-term objective is to compete in the 2016 Brazil Olympic Games.
Dalton added: “My target is to be in the squad for the Olympics. I know if I am going to achieve that I am going to have keep working hard. Hopefully it will happen for me.”
Joe Rodgers and Ashley Buckley are poised to compete in the preliminary round of the National Senior Championships next Monday at Colley Working Men’s Club. Rodgers is in the lightweight category while Buckley will feature in the heavyweight section.
The Parson Cross duo, coached by Andy Manning and Pat Wills, are aiming to reach the final and keep their hopes of qualifying for the 2012 London Olympics alive.