Dalton Smith admits Mexican rival will be his most dangerous opponent

Dalton Smith is under no illusions about the battle ahead with Jose Zepeda on Saturday’s Sheffield Arena bill.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Smith needs to prove he can continue to escalate up boxing’s levels if he is to merit an eventual challenge for a world title.

And in Zepeda he will be taking on someone who has ventured along that same pathway.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The veteran southpaw has taken part in almost three times as many professional encounters as the Sheffield fighter, including attempts for the WBO lightweight title in 2015 and twice for the WBC belt in 2019 and 2022.

One of his defeats was on points after going the full distance, in another he suffered a dislocated left shoulder.

The Mexican-American may have come up short on all three occasions but has been ranked as the world’s fifth best active light welterweight by BoxRec and seventh by The Ring.

Smith is learning all the time and a win against a dangerous 34-year-old will certainly bring him closer to the elite level he aspires to.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The 27-year-old from Handsworth has 17 straight wins so far in his career, 11 by way of knock out.

Dalton Smith and team celebrate his last victory. Pic Matthew Pover, MatchroomDalton Smith and team celebrate his last victory. Pic Matthew Pover, Matchroom
Dalton Smith and team celebrate his last victory. Pic Matthew Pover, Matchroom

But he says “Zepeda will be my strongest opponent so far, he is the toughest challenge in my career.

“He is experienced and has only lost at world level against good opposition – soI don’t think he is going to be intimidated by me!

“That is why we asked for this fight.

“I believe it is putting me up there with the big names in the 140 division.

Jose ZepedaJose Zepeda
Jose Zepeda
Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“If I do this in style and put a great performance in, I believe the wider boxing community around the world will get to know of Dalton Smith.”

Zepeda’s last outing was a points decision loss over 12 rounds in Orlando and needs to prop up his reputation.

“I believe he is going to bring more than any other opposition I have ever been in; it will be my biggest test to date.

“That is why I have trained hard, done everything right and come fight night it will be the best Dalton Smith out there.”

Ready for action: Dalton SmithReady for action: Dalton Smith
Ready for action: Dalton Smith
Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Dalton’s meticulous boxing upbringing has convinced him that no opponent can ever be taken for granted.

And it also has registered with him that he will have to be at his peak every time he goes into the ring.

He says: “I have never been in a fight where it’s been a close call, but I have been ill and not put in my best performance.

“You can’t always go into fights always feeling 100 percent, you often have a niggle because a lot of strain goes into your body during camp.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“I remember I had a fight in Austria (Brian Pelaez; 2021) and had thought I would blast the guy out yet he was still there in round 10 taking the shots and firing back.

“That was a learning fight, part of a process from amateur to professional and on to different levels. I won every round but I knew then if you go in half-hearted then it doesn’t go as you’d hope.”

The former Outwood Academy pupil’s schedule has involved sparring with southpaws, including Chorley’s Jack Catterall, to prepare for the left-handed rival.

“I always say I like boxing southpaws, not many do, but I seem to have their number and match well with them. It doesn’t faze me.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Zepeda says the night will be like “life or death” for him, adding he can go into the Arena and “win big”

The away fighter says he harbours doubts that Smith has the credentials and know-how to beat him.