With only 4-weeks to go until the first bell is sounded for the Ultimate Boxxer 2 at the O2 Indigo in London, Talkin Boxing with Billy C caught up with Swindon’s ‘Sniper’ Sam Smith (5-1, 1KO) to discuss his chances of winning the coveted golden robe and prize money.
Sam Smith was a decorated amateur winning 3 national titles plus the golden gloves in 2007 before finishing with a record of 33 wins in 47 fights. Since turning pro in 2015 the Guildford-puncher has clocked up 31 rounds in 6 fights under the guidance of manager and coach Paddy Fitzpatrick.
With the experience of almost 50 amateur fights under his belt, the Ultimate Boxxer format mirrors the amateurs perfectly which will give the Swindon-based fighter every chance of success on the night.
“I’ve only been a pro for about 3-years this December so I’m still adapting to the pros.” Said Smith.
“I’m still quite amateur but I’m quick with my feet so this opportunity with Ultimate Boxxer and the three, 3’s definitely suits my style.”
Sniper’s only defeat came against the more experienced Kirk Garvey who was 10-1 at the time but also had a lot of amateur fights before taking the plunge into the professional game. Although Smith did put the Londoner down in the first round it was his inexperience as a pro that allowed Garvey back into the fight.
“I was up against a good operator in Kirk Garvey and I knew we were up against it.” Smith concluded.
“It was only my fifth fight so getting in there and getting 10-rounds was obviously a big step up for me in a final eliminator for the Southern-Area title. I learnt a lot in that fight especially after dropping him in the first round and then trying to take him out of there but fair play to him he weathered the storm and came back strong. Looking back on it now I’d have gone back to my boxing and got back behind my jab.
“It was very, very early when I dropped him in roughly the first minute and I thought I had him. I was surprised how often I was hitting him. After dropping him I thought I was going to be in total control but it turned out the other way round, he was in control. It was weird how it happened as I actually went back to my corner worse off then him.”
That lack of experience definitely played it’s part in the defeat against Garvey but this is the sort of fight will only increase Smith’s chances in Ultimate Boxxer II as next time he will be more patient and will wait for the openings rather than force it. ‘Sniper’ identified his mistakes:
“I blew myself out completely, how I made it to seven rounds the way I felt I don’t know, it was just my heart that got me through it. I was spent, the tank was empty, it’s nothing to do with conditioning it’s just one of them things that you can’t prepare for.”
Standing at 6’4″ Smith is the second tallest competitor in the tournament behind Shakan Pitters but Smith has not been given ‘Sniper’ as his nickname for nothing:
“Sniper comes from my range and my jab. Admitted Smith
“Our idea is to always fight behind the jab, whether I’m moving forward or boxing on the back foot which is the key to everything. It all depends on what type of opponent we have in front of us and what sort of style they will bring to the table but I think sometimes the jab is all you need. Especially over these three, 3’s, it’s all about outwitting the person and out thinking them while using that jab and that’s why I believe I can win this tournament.”
The 25-year-old has a top class coach in Paddy Fitzpatrick but has also sparred with world class operators and former world champions which is invaluable experience. We asked Smith just how valuable Paddy will be on the night and what sparring with big names has been like:
“It’s good having that much of experience in my corner to guide me through but especially day in and day out in training I’ve learnt a lot. I’ve been up there [Paddy Fitzpatrick gym] for 4-years this January. I’m still learning with every session and I think it’s a great thing to have.
“When I first started off at Paddy’s gym I was sparring George Groves and then Nathan Cleverly in the same week so it was a great experience. They were always showing and helping me out with new things. It was the same with Enzo Maccarinelli, I’ve spared with him and he’s always helped me out.
“I’ve done loads and loads of rounds with Luke [Watkins]. He’s a strong big punching Cruiserweight who is athletic as well. I’ve sparred with all sorts, super-middle’s for the speed and cruiser‘s for the power. I’ve got through so much sparring in the gym.”
Sam gave us a little insight into his current training regime as he prepare’s for the most important night of this career to date:
“It’s been very intense, plenty of sparring and a lot of sprint work plus using the wattbike. Training 6 times a week, twice a day and work is grueling but in the end it will be worth it.
“I started training about 5 weeks ago but I’ve kept ticking over throughout the summer. I’m in good shape now and I don’t struggle to make the 175lb weight. I’ll be comfortable making the weight, I’m one of those fighters that prefer training at my weight rather than boiling down on the day or the night before, I don’t need to dry out. That’s my way of doing it but everyone is different.”
For Smith, the Ultimate Boxxer 2 offer came about in July when his coach Paddy Fitzpatrick informed him about the tournament, which was an offer that was too good to turn down and one that he “Grabbed it with both hands.”
There are a few rivalries within the Ultimate Boxxer 2 so we were curious to know if there is a fighter that Smith would like to face:
“It doesn’t make a difference to me, they got 2 arms and 2 legs. I know other guys like to know who their fighting before but for me a fights a fight, whoever it is.”
With Ultimate boxer 2 only weeks away we asked the 175-pounder what it would mean to him if he were to win the tournament and where he see’s himself after:
“Ultimate Boxxer obviously gets my name out there. You get a lot more fans and exposure plus sponsorship as well, which we all need in this game. After that I would look to go for the Southern Area title or even an English title. That is the route I want to go but Ultimate Boxxer 2 will provide a platform for that.
“To win would be great, I’ll take the family away and then get back at it in January. The grind never stops in this sport that’s for sure!”
Talkin Boxing with Billy C would like to thank Sam for taking the time out of his busy schedule to speak with us. We hope to have Sam back on BillyCBoxing soon. Good Luck!
If you would like tickets for the event and would like to follow Sam on Twitter @SniperSamSmith