Smith: "I'm Confident I Can Knock Him Out"
Fast-rising Super-Lightweight sensation Dalton Smith says he
carries the power to knockout local rival Lee Appleyard when
they clash for the vacant English Title at the AO Arena,
Manchester this Saturday May 15, live on Sky Sports in the
UK and on DAZN in the US and more than 200 countries and
'Thunder' has finished six of his seven professional
contests inside the distance, and the 24-year-old former
Team GB star kept his six-fight KO streak running last time
out when he retired Birmingham's Ishmael Ellis in three
rounds on the Josh Warrington vs. Mauricio Lara undercard.
Smith, Sheffield's most successful amateur boxer of all
time, was originally scheduled to face Rotherham's Appleyard
in February before the Stefy Bull-trained 33-year-old was
forced to withdraw after contracting COVID-19 a week out
from the fight Ė but Smith believes now is the perfect time
to take on the former English Champion.
ďIn my eighth fight, to be boxing for the English Title is
great," said Smith. "The belt has been around for so many
years and when you look at the people that have won it Ė
some have gone on to become greats. They all started off
with the English Title. Thatís the route I want to go down Ė
English, British and European. I want to go the traditional
route and pick up all of those belts along the way.
"Lee Appleyard is a local derby and itís the perfect matchup
to have for the English Title. Each fight for me is a
steppingstone. The English Title is not my end goal; itís
the start. The amateur days and the golds are in the past
now; Iíve achieved those goals and now Iíve got new goals
that Iíve set out. I work hard every single day because I
want to achieve those goals. Iíll be happy when one day I
can bring a World Title back to Sheffield.
"Take nothing away from Lee, heís a very good fighter and
heís experienced. Heís got a very good engine. I think
thatís what heís going to be relying on in this fight. Just
having a good engine isnít enough. Iím maturing and Iím
punching harder. Iíve always been able to carry power but
now I feel like a different animal. I think itís a perfect
fight for me.
ďI think I can knock him out. Weíve both sparred, and we
both know how those spars went. Donít get me wrong, Lee is
tough and heís strong. Heís going to try and take me into
the deep waters in those later rounds. No disrespect to Lee,
I think heís a great fighter in and out of the ring, but I
feel confident that I can get him out of there.
"The Nathan Bennett fight Ė top fighter. I had no footage on
him whatsoever so when I was training, I didnít really know
what style I was preparing for. I went in there and showed
whatever they bring to the table, I can adapt. It only took
me a few rounds to get his number. Iíve sparred Lee, weíve
had lots of rounds together. Iíve been to shows where Iíve
seen him fight live. I know a lot about Lee. If I can work
somebody out without any footage, once Iíve got their
blueprint it can be dangerous."
Smith vs. Appleyard is part of a huge night of boxing in
Manchester, Joshua Buatsi (13-0, 11 KOs) fights under Virgil
Hunter for the first time against unbeaten Frenchman Daniel
Blenda Dos Santos (15-0, 8 KOs), three European Title fights
feature on the bill with Gamal Yafai (18-1, 10 KOs)
defending his Super-Bantamweight Title for the first time
against Jason Cunningham (28-6, 6 KOs), Tommy McCarthy
(17-2, 18 KOs) defending his Cruiserweight crown against
Romaniaís Alexandru Jur (19-4, 7 KOs) and Lerrone Richards
(14-0, 3 KOs) taking on Italyís Giovanni De Carolis (28-9-1,
13 KOs) for the vacant Super-Middleweight strap, Birmingham
Heavyweight Solomon Dacres makes his professional debut and
Ellis Hopkins makes history when she becomes the first
female from the traveller community to turn professional.