Sheffield’s brilliant amateur prospect Dalton Smith showed dignity and class after losing in front of his home crowd in the World Series of Boxing (WSB) semi-final at Ponds Forge.
He lost out to Kazakhstan light-welterweight Dilmurat Mizhitov, the defeat tipping the balance in the visitors’ favour, winning the night 3-2.
It means the Lionhearts face an uphill task to make the WSB final when the teams meet for the second leg in Atyrau on May 26.
Returning to international boxing after 18 injury-hit months, Smith outfoxed Mizhitov in the first round with neat footwork, landing a series of promising left hooks.
The Kazakh returned fire in the following rounds and gradually began to get on top as he repeatedly walked down the Sheffield man. A strong showing by Smith in the final round meant the result was up for grabs, however all three judges ruled in favour of the Kazakh.
Smith took it on the chin, saying: “We knew it was going to be tough and that they would bring their A-game.
“I got the first round but then let him come back into it and then I was chasing it a little bit towards the end. Another day, I probably could have nicked it but I think the better man won on the day.
“It’s a privilege to come and fight in front of my fans. They are the ones who push me and are the reason why I am where I am today.
“I am just gutted I did not get the win but the support has been amazing.”