Dalton Smith has been thrown straight in at the deep end as he makes his debut for the elite British Lionhearts amateur boxing squad this weekend.
The Steel City ABC fighter’s first outing for the team – which will include three Olympians – will come in the final of the World Series of Boxing against the might of Cuba.
Smith flew out to Uzbekistan earlier this week and will face Yasnier Toledo in the light welterweight (64kg) final on Saturday night.
Toledo won Olympic bronze at London 2012 and is a world silver medalist while the 26-year-old has also qualified for the Rio Olympics later this year.
He may give up plenty of age and experience to his opponent, but 18-year-old Smith has taken his Lionhearts call all in his stride according to dad and Steel City trainer Grant Smith.
“Nothing really fazes Dalton and he’s just got on with it,” Smith snr told The Star.
“We got the call from Rob McCracken [performance director of GB Boxing] and Dalton has just taken it in his stride.
“He’s on a very good run of form right now. He beat top kids from Kazakhstan and Russia out in Lithuania a fornight ago and he’s got thrown straight into this.
“The big things keep coming. He was the first kid from Sheffield on Team GB and now he’s the first to box in the World Series.
“He’s up against it this weekend, it’ll be tough but to be the best you’ve got to fight the best.
“It’ll be a fantastic experience that will do him the world of good and he’ll definitely be giving it a good go while he’s there.”
Smith becomes the second Steel City fighter involved with the Lionhearts in a matter of weeks after London-born Sunny Edwards was selected as the tie-breaker fighter for the semi-finals clash with Kazakhstan.
After the British team raced to a 4-1 lead, Edwards was not required to compete and subsequently missed out on selection for the final.
Three British fighters to have qualified for the Olympics will join Smith in Uzbekistan this weekend with Lawrence Okolie, Muhammad Ali and Galal Yafai all competing for the Lionhearts.
Smith’s fight will be shown live on BoxNation.
While Smith flies the flag for the Steel City gym abroad this weekend, two of the small team’s younger fighters will be chasing national title glory in the finals of the England Boxing Schools and Minors Championship in Grantham.
Junaid Bostan will be looking to win the schoolboy title for the second successive year when he meets Simon O’Donnell from Hooks ABC in London in the 43kg final.
And fellow Rotherham native Adam Hussain contests the 32.5kg final against Nelson Smith of Repton.
Elsewhere, Manor’s Mykle Ahmed faces Kieran Oakley in the 34kg final and Jubilee’s Jess Flint is in the 50kg female decider against Olivia Robins.
Doncaster Boxing Academy’s Henry Tyers goes up against George Liddard in the 50kg male final.