Words by Kieran Cobley Video edited by Ed McIntyre
Leeds boxer Sam “SJ” Smith is one of the hot up and coming talents in the world of female boxing.
The Leeds lass, 38, currently holds a 9-1 record, and is set to go to battle next month with Anisha Bashir next month for the vacant Lightweight Commonwealth title at York Hall in London.
We went to Alliance Boxing Club in Crossgates, the gym which Sam co-owns and trains at to speak to her about this upcoming and fight and also about Yorkshire boxing and the gap between women’s and men’s boxing.
Speaking about the fight Smith said: “I’ve boxed there a couple of times at York Hall, i think this is the third one, obviously it’s the Mecca of boxing, the small hall stuff.”
“It’s going to be tough.”
“There’s no videos of her or anything like that so we’re gonna have to play it safe for the first couple of rounds.”
Smith also spoke about how boxing in Leeds and West Yorkshire is beginning to grow and become a hub for the sport like Manchester and Liverpool are.
“There’s loads of young talent coming through now from Leeds or West Yorkshire.”
Smith adds ” There’s more clubs, people seem to be working together a bit more, which for me is key, you get different clubs together and things happen”.
Women’s boxing has become more popular in recent years, more so since it was added to the 2012 Olympic games, and with talent like Nicola Adams and Katie Taylor spearheading the sport into the main stream, I asked Sam whether we could see women’s boxing become as popular as men’s boxing.
“I think, it’s just bubbling up at the moment, but I think definitely going forward, as long as we can keep producing quality fights and not just these fall over type fights over silly belts, and keep producing quality fights, competitive fights, I can’t see why not”
Compared to women’s boxing, women’s MMA has come a lot further, with top female fights getting main event spots and as much press coverage as men’s fights, something that Smith commented on
“I think that’s why MMA has done so well because they’re going fifty fifty, so its a fifty fifty fight so it’s excitement.”
Smith faces off against Bashir for the Women’s Lightweight Commonwealth title on June 9th in London’s York Hall.
To see the full interview with Smith click the link below.