Dalton Smith has identified WBC super lightweight champion Devin Haney as the man to help him sell out the home of his beloved Sheffield Wednesday Football Club. Wednesday play at the near 35,000-seater Hillsborough Stadium in the north of Sheffield. 

Smith, 16-0 (12 KOs), has been tasked by promoter Matchroom to be the flag bearer for a city synonymous with boxing. Smith has headlined his last two fights at Sheffield Arena following on from British greats including Kell Brook, Clinton Woods, Johnny Nelson, Herol Graham and Naseem Hamed. 

“Hopefully we have got something big coming up,” Smith stated in an interview with BoxingScene. “Obviously I got the purse bids for the European next, but nothing is certain. [Former champion] Adam Azim vacated, didn’t he, so I’ll have the purse bid for the vacant title. We will see where it goes, but nothing is penciled in 100 per cent yet. Hopefully we will get some fight news very soon.”

Matchroom’s promotional rivals Boxxer guide the career of fellow 140-pound British hopeful Azim, 11-0 (8 KOs). The Berkshire native defeated Franck Petitjean to claim the EBU title and successfully defended the belt with a fifth-round knockout over Denmark’s Enock Poulsen this past February. 

Smith is the current British and Commonwealth champion, and is now also ranked No. 3 in the WBC rankings. Matchroom’s Eddie Hearn voiced his desire to match the two British prospects this summer but Team Azim have resisted taking that road at this juncture. 

Smith now seeks a new dance partner with another headlining slot in Sheffield on the cards.

“I was hoping for it,” Smith said of Azim, “but it didn’t materialize, so it is one for down the line. I don’t lose sleep over it, that’s the main thing. Obviously you can’t push a fighter into taking a fight. Everything happens for a reason, and you have to believe in a process, everything works out in the end.”

Smith comes off successive highlight reel knockout victories. In July last year the 27-year-old wiped out Sam Maxwell in the seventh round before securing a career-best win, a fifth-round knockout of Jose Zepeda, in March. 

“I’m stepping up through the rankings now and pushing onto the bigger fights,” Smith explained. “I want to fill out Hillsborough Stadium. That’s my main aim and my main goal in my career. I think I can sell there very well myself, but to put bums on seats you need a fight that people will want to come out and see. 

“The likes of Azim, a world title or Devin Haney, something like that. That’s the sort of thing I need to realize my life-long goal, to sellout Hillsborough Stadium. In a year to 18 months, I’m very confident I will be fighting for a world title.”