Navvy Rod is back building his fight future

Rod Smith after beating Max Maxwell
Rod Smith after beating Max Maxwell

Rod Smith was tarmacking a lane on the M25 when he had his light-bulb moment - he had to get back to boxing.

The Dronfield brawler had been a local headline-maker back in December 2013 when he beat Sheffield’s Liam Cameron to clinch the International Masters middleweight title.

But the slugger fell out of love with sport, has had just one six-rounder since and was looking for work outside of the sport.

That led him to mending roads in London and, currently, fixing roofs in Nottinghamshire.

But Smith is back campaigning in the ring after realising what he’d been missing and fights again in a six-rounder at iceSheffield on February 27.

“I thought after beating Cameron that I’d be up against top, ranking lads. I didn’t want any journeymen in front of me” he said, “But a planned fight with Mark Heffron (Oldham) didn’t go ahead and I had to settle for one with (Birmingham’s) Max Maxwell.

“He’s a good enough kid and I won but I couldn’t get up for it, I got clipped at the back of my head (first round count after going down) I hadn’t train as well as I should have.

“There was a lot going on, I needed some work so I went tarmacking in London. I wanted a break and to take a back-seat from the sport, but while I was there I knew I wanted to come-back and make a go of it.”

Smith 23, will compete on the Dave Coldwell promotion in the east end and is anxious to make up for lost time.

Asked if he had envy for other Dronfield and Sheffield fighters who were doing well, like Cameron, Adam Etches and Lewis Taylor, he replied: “I do feel a bit of envy but I am also glad they are doing well. I am a nice kid and I wish anybody well in boxing.

“Now I have to do well and get up the rankings and I’ll be happy.”

Smith, who has a six fight unbeaten record , says he has been impressed by his sparring partner Etches’ rise - he is now being spoken of as a potential world champion in the making.

“He might not have had the hardest of fights so far but he keeps delivering those KO shots and trains hard.

“But I have to make sure this is a big year for me and I can get titles and ten rounders.

“Hopefully I can attract a sponsor and go back to boxing full time.”

n Doncaster’s 20-year-old middleweight Luke Crowcroft has two fights ahead of him: he boxes in the Prizefighter tournament in Blackpool on February 14 and then challenges Jason Ball two weeks later for the vacant Central Area title at Doncaster Dome.

Ball, 11 years his senior, failed in his bid to become English champ last October when he lost to Bristol’s Danny Butler.