Rod Smith went through a steep and decidedly painful learning curve in his last professional fight.
Rashly, he decided to fight Tom Doran even though the unbeaten Welshman came in several pounds heavier than the weight limit set for the televised middleweight contest.
Gleadless-born Smith, who lives in Dronfield, had sold more than 100 tickets for the show in Liverpool and was offered an improved purse as bait. He lasted only three rounds before being KO’d, losing his previous 100% record to a man who weighed 11st 13lb 6oz - in an 11st 6lbs ‘maximum’ division.
Doran, 28, chalked up his 16th straight win and is now moving onwards towards a title shot. At 24, Smith has gone back to the drawing board, considerably wiser for the punishing experience.
“Looking back at that fight (last November) I didn’t want to let people down, that’s why I went ahead with it” he recalled. “I thought: ‘it’s just a few pounds difference.’ It was a big opportunity for me, people were travelling to see me, even though it was on TV, and it was a sickener when he came in at the weight he did.
“In hindsight we should have told him to at least sweat some of that weight out. After all, I had drained myself to get there. But we didn’t think he’d do it so we went ahead, it was stupid, really. I learned more from that night than I have my whole life.
“My Dad said there are weight categories put into the sport for a reason, he was right” said Smith. “Doran apologised afterwards, but it took me a while afterwards to get over it” said the boxer.
“I took as a positive that I went up the domestic rankings from 34 to 23, despite losing the match. I should lose more often!
“I am now eager to get back out again and looking to improve, I know there were bits I didn’t do right in my preparation last time, nutrition and weight-training, things like that.”
Smith hopes to get busy throughout 2016 and harbours a hope one day he can get his hands on Chris Eubank Jr, a high-profile fighter Smith believes he could take to task. First he needs a comeback fight, which manager Richard Poxon - who felt his man was cheated in the Dolan defeat - is working on and is likely to be next month or March.
n Birley bomber Adam Etches is recovering from a cut face and bruised pride after toppling off his bike on Prince of Wales Road. Etches will be chief-support to Kell Brook on March 26 and will be boxing for a title.