Dalton Smith intends to establish himself as one of the leading fighters on the British scene.
With Kell Brook reaching the end of his career, Smith, the British super-lightweight champion, hopes to take on the mantle for boxing in his home city of Sheffield.
“My time will come when I have to pass the torch down, we’re just keeping the cycle going. Obviously I looked up to Kell and what he’s achieved. That’s what I want to do, I want to bring those big nights to Sheffield,” Smith told Sky Sports.
“Selling out 5,000 in Sheffield Arena [in his last fight], I just want to keep building on that.
“More fights, get major titles and I want that big one at Hillsborough stadium for the world title. We’ll keep working hard and see where it takes us.”
Next Smith will make his first defence of the British title against Birmingham’s Kaisee Benjamin at the AO Arena in Manchester on Saturday, live on Sky Sports.
Smith expects to challenge for world titles eventually. But if he comes through the fight with Benjamin, he’d only need two more successful British title fights to win the Lonsdale belt outright.
“I’ve always said I want to get to the end of my career and have the British title for keeps. If it makes great business sense, I want to get the defences under my belt and get it for keeps,” Smith explained.
“Everything changes all the time. Fights happen, the rankings change, obviously I’m at the British level at the minute. I can go international routes, I can go traditional routes.
“We’ve always said I want to do the traditional route because that’s what I’ve seen fighters do when I was young and coming through.”
Smith thinks Liverpool’s Sam Maxwell would make for an appealing British title fight, one that would set the winner up to pursue greater honours.
“That was a fight we were looking for. It didn’t happen. I get the job done on the 12th and they’re possible fights. They’re good British domestic fights,” Smith said.
“Kaisee Benjamin’s the next target in line. I always say one fight at a time, then whoever’s in the way of my path where I want to go, that’s who I want to challenge.”
Another exciting British fighter set to light up the super-lightweight scene is Adam Azim. Smith and Azim haven’t sparred one another but they spent time together in camp when preparing Luke Campbell for his fight with Ryan Garcia.
“We’re not rivals, we’re just at the same weight,” Azim said of Smith. “He’s a lovely guy. Me and him get on really well.”
Azim tips Smith to win his fight with Benjamin on Saturday. “He’s definitely going to win, definitely by knockout at the weekend. I think he’s going to outbox him,” said Azim. He is young and ambitious too and will be in action soon himself when he boxes Rylan Charlton on November 27.
If the two keep on progressing, eventually boxing each other might become unavoidable. “People are talking about a fight down the line,” Azim said. “I’ve got to concentrate on my fight.
“If that fight comes down the line then it’s a good fight. But I’m fighting Rylan Charlton and that’s the main thing.”
Smith certainly expects Azim to continue his rise. “Adam’s starting to have his little step ups and obviously he’s getting well promoted with Sky and people are taking note of him,” Smith said.
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“I’m a fan and I’m looking forward to seeing how he progresses as he starts moving through the levels.
“I hope he keeps doing well. They’re the potential dancing partners for super British fights. There’s no bad blood between me and Adam. I want him to keep doing well. I’m going to keep doing well. That’s what you want,” he continued. “You build them fights up.
“We’re the next crop coming through,” Smith concluded. “We’re the future of British boxing.”
Watch Dalton Smith vs Kaisee Benjamin live on Sky Sports Arena from 7pm this Saturday.