Meet Mitchell Smith, a young rising Boxing star who has burst onto the the Professional scene with an impressive six professional victories out of six which includes three knock-outs! Hailing from Harrow, North West London and competing in the super-featherweight category. Mitchell’s next fight will see him compete for the Southern Area Title on the 21st September 2013, where he will be battling it out against opponent Scott Moises at the Copper Box in a bid to claim his first title.
I caught up with the talented 20 year old earlier this week to find out how he first got involved with boxing as well as discussing his vigorous training regime, mind-set and his thoughts about the Boxing scene.
I began the interview with the most obvious question…
You first started Boxing at the tender age of six. What influenced your decision to take up the sport when you did?
As is the experience with many young children at school, the build-up of stress and intimidation drove me into a new environment; the boxing ring. Taken by my father John, I instantly felt at home in my local Harrow boxing gym. The combination of discipline and tough workouts was no obstacle for me, only motivation, as I continued attending regular sessions.
What age did you enter your first competition?
Continuing from the age of six years onwards was rewarding as I entered my first competition at the age of 12. Although losing in the first round, my dedication to the sport didn’t change, still attending regular sessions and optimistic about future bouts.
Since then, you continued your stubborn dominance of the amateur boxing scene. Who was the most difficult opponent you faced, and why?
Still reasonably inexperienced in terms of a boxer’s career, my fights within the amateurs brought about all types of opponents with various styles. The dynamite, all action type opponent George Vaness however caused me more problems than most. Vaness claimed four wins out five contests against me, although I gave everything in all the bouts, I often ended up on the wrong side of a close decision.
Notoriously, boxing workouts are considered amongst the most rigorous in the entire sporting spectrum, what does your training regime consist of?
Starting at 12-1 o’clock, my first session of the day will include a mixture of pad work, skipping, groundwork, bag work followed by a separate condition session. After this, I will carb-load, ensuring I am energized for an evening run which could be up to six miles long.
Due to the requirements of making a specific weight category, boxers tend to have a strict diet, what is your personal pre-fight diet?
My diet generally consists of the necessities. I consume three meals a day, which usually consists of chicken and vegetables, with a protein shake as a meal replacement. As I don’t have lunch before I train, the protein shake acts as fuel for the lunchtime training session.
In your opinion is there a difference between amateur and professional boxing?
Definitely, one of the main differences I’ve noticed is that professional boxing has a lot more focus on the knock-out whereas the amateurs is focused on point-scoring. This in and out amateur style makes it difficult when opposed by an attacking fighter, like George Vaness.
Describe your boxing style?
My boxing style allows me to fight more than one way, I can punch, I can box. My speed and foot movement allows me to be illusive. All these together means I can box to a game plan, but also change tactics mid-fight if needed.
You recently made the decision to turn your back on the Amateur scene in favour to take your career to the next level by turning professional. What has the transition been like from Amateur to Professional?
The professional game has caused me to make a lot of changes from the amateurs. One way I have noticed is the training has been a lot harder! With the higher calibre of opponents, I know that during training I have to be sharp and do everything my opponents not doing.
Readying myself has been one thing, but as well as this I’ve been able to box naturally in the pro scene. Jason Rowland (coach) has given me a bit more freedom in the ring, allowing me to let my shots go to produce eye-catching knock-outs that everyone loves to see.
Describe the mechanics of your team leading up to a fight?
First and foremost my coach, Jason Rowland gets me ready for a fight with technical workouts and opponent studies, significantly he gets a clear idea of how he wants me to fight come fight night. Behind the scenes I have Richard Clarke, sorting out various paperwork requirements before a fight.
My Dad John is a ticket seller for all of my fights, but primarily he’s a form of emotional support, someone I can always go to amidst the pressures of the limelight.
On the promotional side I have Jon Guymer and Jordan Carss, publicising me as a fighter in the local area, mainly through merchandise and social networks.
Personally, how do you ensure you make weight for an upcoming fight?
For me, being dedicated to my diet and my training regime are the main things that allow me to make my current weight category. During the eight-twelve week training camp, I check weight twice a day, just as a caution to make sure I’ll be ready on the day of the weigh-in.
In the dressing room, you must experience an array of mixed emotions. How do you mentally prepare moments before a fight?
Ultimately the nerves I feel in the dressing room subside and are replaced with excitement. This is not only my job, but something I love doing. I wouldn’t be in the ring if I didn’t love it. So looking at the fight as something I’m passionate about, lets me relax a bit more and the desire to do well allows me to block out the flashing lights and big crowds; leaving me with my aim… to win!
So far, you pose an unblemished record in your professional career where you have won your first six fights, the last of which can only be described as a sensational one punch knock-out of opponent Gavin Reid in the opening round. What is your secret to maintaining this?
As mentioned previously, my will to win more than anything drives me to be the best. A second place attitude is alien to me, I train with everything I’ve got, so why even contemplate losing.
Outside of the gym, when I go home and see my little daughter, who relies on me- it pushes me to make sure I leave boxing with everything I possibly can. Enough to provide the best life possible for her.
What has been the highlight of your Boxing career thus far?
Despite my six pro wins, including some memorable knock-outs, the highlight of my career so far lies in my amateur days. Winning the Senior ABA title was something I will never forget. It’s very rare for any boxer to claim this honour, and to do it at the first time of asking, was really an added bonus for me.
Who are your Boxing inspirations?
Honestly, I don’t have any inspirations. I look up to people in boxing but for me personally the desire to win is enough to spur me on.
Boxing has been with you practically your whole life, how has it shaped you as a person? Both positively and negatively.
As a fiery character in and out of the ring, Boxing has been a humbling experience for me. I’ve learnt from the sport that you need to respect your opponents and also those you work with. This is transferable from the ring to everyday life and something that now, due to boxing, will always be with me.
Negatively the buzz I get for a few days after a win fades into back into reality. The endless phone calls and praise stops, leaving you in limbo, waiting for your next fight.
On the whole however, boxing has made me a better person. It’s given me opportunities I may not have had otherwise. Without boxing I don’t know where I would be today.
Apart from boxing, what are your favourite pastimes?
Away from boxing, I love the serenity of just me, my rod and a lake. Fishing for me is something to get away from the stress of boxing, something completely different. Although I still get a buzz when I catch a thirty pounder!
Given his track record so far, there is no doubt that this young man has a promising professional career ahead of him and I genuinely wish him every success in the future.
Below is the video footage of Mitchell’s infamous one round knock-punch against opponent Gavin Reid I made reference to during the interview.
Should you wish to purchase tickets to support the ‘Baby Faced Assassin’ on his quest for title victory at the Frank Warren Event on Saturday 21st September 2013, Copper Box Arena, visit Mitchell Smith’s Website and follow his Twitter account more information.