Big things are expected of Dalton Smith, but the unbeaten Sheffield super-lightweight is happy to do things in the right order and he collected the vacant British title in fine style, knocking down Sam O’Maison before stopping him in the sixth round at Sheffield Arena.
These days, most prospects are talked of as would-be world champions, but Smith has boxing in the blood and was keen to do things the right way, which meant getting a British title before moving on to bigger success.
Smith has been in line for a British title fight for the past year, only to see a couple of matches fall through Sam Maxwell with Akeem Ennis Brown
O’Maison, the former English champion, was the beneficiary of those no-shows but looked out of his depth at times. As hard as he tried, the southpaw could not get out of the way of Smith’s looping right, the punch that led the way to victory.
“All respect to Sam because you need a dancing partner and I didn’t have one for the British and it was an all-Sheffield fight and the fans turned out for both of us,” Smith said.
Smith took time to find the range but began to step into range in the second round, pinging O’Maison with a good right early on.
Both looked keen to counterpunch, though, and O’Maison landed the southpaw jab as Smith stretched in, but Smith was constantly looking for the looping right lead.
The looping right would be the punch to make the difference in the third round, as he leapt forward with a right that sent O’Maison falling backwards into the ropes and on to the floor.
Smith was on him right after he was waved back in, but O’Maison saw his way through the trouble and was coming forward at the end of the round.
There was no rush from Smith, though, and when O’Maison got a bit of confidence in the fourth round after scoring with two good punches, Smith caught him with two heavy counters.
The fifth was a tough round for O’Maison, as he was caught repeatedly by Smith’s looping right, one big punch rocking O’Maison just before the bell.
O’Maison kept trying, but Smith’s bursts were just so much more accurate. With 30 seconds remaining in the sixth round, a straight left and a right dropped O’Maison again and when O’Maison was allowed to box on, Smith measured him with another big right to put him over again, referee Marcus McDonnell waving it off when he hit the canvas.
“This is the kind of night we needed for Dalton Smith to break through and be a star,” Eddie Hearn said. “We have felt for a long time that this young man is special. There is still a long way to go. I think this young man is going to move on with British, European and world titles honours. His dream is to fill Hillsborough for the world title and that’s where we want to get to.”
Sandy Ryan avenged the only defeat on her professional record as she boxed her way to a ten-round decision over former two-weight world champion Erica Farias.
Ryan, a former Commonwealth Games gold medal-winner, was given something of a boxing lesson by the Argentinian in March, but she showed she had learnt from the experience as she kept at distance for the whole ten rounds to win a unanimous decision.
“It’s a weight lifted off my shoulders,” Ryan said. “I didn’t want to take risks, she’s a very good fighter. If I would have taken risks I would have been dragged into a brawl again.”
Ryan got drawn into Farias’s fight last time and, while there was plenty of needle in the build-up to the rematch, Ryan looked determined to keep things at long range this time, using her jab and working one-twos, while she moved her feet well.
It wasn’t until the seventh round that Farias had any real success, as she got through with a big right, but Ryan came back well and continued to keep Farias on the outside and forced the Argentinian backwards.
Farias had a bit more success in the last but any moments she did have were fleeting as Ryan remained in command to lift her record to 4-1 and move within sight of a world title shot at super-lightweight.
Terry O’Connor scored the fight 98-92, while Pablo Gonzalez and Andreas Stenberg scored it 96-94, which looked a bit close.
Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.