The Cavan flyweight defeated reigning Irish Elite Senior champion Carly McNaul in the final of the Ulster Elite Seniors in Belfast – and is now hopeful of being selected for the Northern Ireland team for the Commonwealth Games
The hugely experienced Smith has been off the radar this year, in which time McNaul took over the Irish #1 spot and featured at the EU championships. The Virginia boxer though reasserted herself as the island’s top 51kg at the Ulster Hall, outsmarting the Belfast brawler and forcing a count in the final round to take the title.
Speaking to Irish-Boxing.com afterwards, Smith noted how “I haven’t been here in the guts of a year. It’s only my second fight back, I found I was very rusty in the ring to be honest.”
“To be honest, I didn’t know a lot about the girl. She was a fantastic fighter, very aggressive, and it probably made me work a bit harder because she was coming forward. It was a competitive match and the key to my victory was probably experience and more ring cuteness.”
“I’m delighted to have the win and to be back boxing.”
It was a hostile atmosphere for Smith, with her Ormeau Road opponent bringing a large and loud crowd.
This was no issue for the southpaw though who reasoned that “it’s her hometown, it’s one of the biggest nights in Ulster boxing, I’ve actually never boxed in the Ulster Hall.”
“I know I got a lot of boos getting in the ring, I think I only had maybe four or five supporters in the whole audience, but at the end of the day, when you get in the ring, it’s based on your own performance.”
“If you let the crowd outside the ring get to you it’s a psychological advantage to the other boxer. I just zoned it out and focused on my own performance.
It was straight back into the deep end for Smith in what was only her second bout of the year.
The DCU student has been out of boxing, and explained how “I took my intra placement in Australia, to work in strength & conditioning and nutrition.”
“There were no qualifiers or anything, so I felt a break would do me good.”
“I only came home at the end of July, I’ve been out for a long time. I was really itching to get back in the ring, I did miss that competitiveness.”
While she is happy to be back, Smith wouldn’t mind a trip back Down Under. A frequent topic of conversation at the Ulster Hall was the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast next April.
Hailing from Cavan, Smith is unsure of her eligibility, but is keen to compete.
The 25-year-old outlined how “I’m going to look into it. I’d absolutely be interested.”
“It’d be an amazing experience to represent the country and, if I’m eligible, I’d love to be there. If I had the opportunity, why wouldn’t I?”
Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)