Sheffield prospect Dalton Smith ready for Austrian showdown after testing fight camp
Unbeaten Sheffield prospect Dalton Smith is ready to put the frustrations of a protracted camp behind him and continue his pursuit of a world title on Friday night.
The 24-year-old, nicknamed ‘Thunder’, who trains at the Steel City Gym in Darnall, has now been preparing for his latest bout for four weeks longer than anticipated after a scheduled fight in America against a Mexican fighter fell through due to coronavirus restrictions.
That meant the Matchroom-promoted super lightweight, who boasts seven knockouts from eight professional fights, was forced to switch sparring partners and will now take on Brian Pelaez (10-5, one knockout) in Austria for the vacant WBA intercontinental title.
Smith admits he knows little about Spaniard Pelaez after discovering the identity of his stand-in opponent just 10 days ago.
“From what I’ve seen he’s durable and boxed some decent kids at a high level,” he said.
"I’m expecting a tough challenge, it’s my first big title.
"It’s another stepping stone and we keep chipping away. I’m not rushing things, sometimes that’s why people go wrong.”
Should Friday go to plan, Smith, who put friendship aside to beat Rotherham’s Lee Appleyard inside the distance last time out in May, hopes to be out again once before the end of 2021, or early next year.
He added: "It does feel like quite a while since I’ve been in the ring but I have been more active than any other fighter during lockdown.
"Since the Appleyard fight my stock has gone even higher, he was a well-respected fighter but I went in there and finished it in style."
Thunder’s stablemate, IBF flyweight world champion Sunny Edwards, has been forced to pull out of his first title defence on Saturday with an ankle injury.
One consolation of Edwards’ postponement is that the pair’s trainer, Smith’s dad Grant, will no longer miss his son’s fight having been an ever-present since he left Team GB to turn professional.
The Wednesdayite will once again sport his beloved club’s colours in the ring with a design inspired by their 1993 black and yellow away kit.
He said: “The support is amazing, even from my debut, I feel honoured.
"It’s only right for me to give back and represent those colours.”