The inspiring, Sheffield father-figure who guided world champion boxer Charlie Edwards to greatness through love and hard work

World champion Charlie Edwards has publicly acknowledged Sheffield trainer Grant Smith for the "undivided attention and unconditional love" that he has shown to help guide him towards his elite boxing level.

Friday, 15th March 2019, 11:29 am
Updated Monday, 18th March 2019, 12:33 pm

The WBC flyweight title-holder has blossomed under Smith's tutoring at the Steel City gym in Darnall.

Next weekend, Edwards defends his title against Angel Moreno at the Copper Box Arena, London.

And he goes into combat confident that Smith's influence on him over the last year, has made him a better fighter and a more grounded human being.

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"He has actually changed me completely" revealed Surrey-born Edwards, 26.

"If you look at my style, a year ago to now, it is phenomenal the changes he's made.

"He stripped back a lot, went back to basics.He is a technician.

"He has put undivided attention and unconditional love into me. He feels like a dad, he is a father-figure to me and he treats me like his son" said the Beighton-based boxer, whose brother Sunny trains in Darnall too.

"Not just in the boxing gym, but in all areas of life, all he does is want the best for me.

"That alongside his technical ability and the way he can read fights, the way he can get the tactics spot-on, we are a match made in heaven.

"I have never met anyone so when two heads come together like that it's a beautiful partnership.

"We have shown that so far...but, boy, this is only the beginning. We have got a long way to go and we are going to build a massive legacy and the Steel City gym is going to be one of the most-known gyms in the country.

"In the next two to three years, he will be one of the most recognised British trainers."

Edwards says Smith is "up there" with the best British boxing trainers around, even though his name is not as well-known as others.

"He is the best coach I have ever worked with."

Edwards said Smith's work with his own son Dalton - the most successful amateur fighter in Sheffield history - was an example of how a boxer had excelled under his mentorship, which was based on hard work and dedication.

Edwards wants to build a legacy and hold on to world titles for as long as possible.

But he also wants to project the right image to sportspeople of the future.

"I have got to be the role model to the younger generation coming up. Be a humble person...which I am."

Previously Edwards had been caught up with his own ego but was now living a "basic life, I am not flash I am not lairy and I feel good in myself.

"When I am doing good for other people, it makes me feel good. It brings me fulfilment."

He recalled being inspired himself by people who were succesful, like he is now.

"If I can portray that and help others, then that's the fulfilment I am getting from it."