Sheffield boxer hungry for titles after 4-year break

Flashback to  28th May 2011'Nigel Wright (right) vs Niki Smedley 'Nicki Smedley
Flashback to 28th May 2011'Nigel Wright (right) vs Niki Smedley 'Nicki Smedley
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A boxing match back in May 2011 was an event neither man will ever forget.

For Sheffield’s Nicki Smedley, the English super lightweight title scrap at Hillsborough Arena brought a wholly unwelcome watershed - a defeat costing him his unbeaten record after 14 winning fights.

It signalled the end of the promising Sheffield boxer’s involvement in the sport for four and a half years.

Yet, for his opponent Nigel Wright, victory had a considerably worse outcome.

Some time after 10-rounder, Wright failed a brain scan test, the procedure detecting a bleed on the brain, and the Boxing Board voted not to allow the 32-year-old to campaign ever again.

At least Smedley, aged 29, now has a second chance at the sport.

And he makes his return against Duane Green, from Norwich, at Doncaster Dome. It will given Smedley and fight fans the answer to the quest: “Has he still got it?”

The Sheffielder’s return is partly motivated by his domestic circumstances.

“I grew up in Woodthorpe and I think the area has gone down a lot” he says. “I have family commitments now and want to give my son a better life somewhere else.

“Yeah, there will be ring rust after four and a half years away.

“But I have matured and learned a lot in the time I have been away.

“When I stopped boxing some of the logs on the fire had burned out - but I have put fresh ones on now!”

Smedley, who trains at Lower Manor gym, shot up to nearly 15 stones when he was weigh-training.

But he says: “In 12 weeks I have lost three and a half stone” he said.

“Saturday’s fight will be at 11 stone - but I could have come in at 10 and a half. Next year I will definitely be campaigning at light welterweight, 10 stone. There is nothing (talent-wise) in the light welterweight division and I can clean up there. Tyrone Nurse is British champion, so it tells you its not a very good weight division.”

Smedley has his eyes on international prestige.

“I want to win belt and titles - I want to start by going down the Commonwealth route.”

As for Saturday in Doncaster, he says: “I will see how it goes in the first round and will try to KO him, but if I don’t I will use the rounds to get rid of the ring rust.

“I won’t be nervous, I have done this since I was 10” said the fighter, who has sold 120 tickets for the show.