Bareknuckle boxing and the front cover of Vogue magazine…
Lion in the ring and gentleman out, here’s what Dean ‘Smudger’ Smith had to say about the next chapter of his story…
BKB18 will see Dean “Smudger” Smith launch his assault on the lightweight division.
The fan favourite will be one of eight men fighting to walk away with a £10,000 cash prize. Formerly a middleweight, Smudger has promised to be slicker, quicker and more aggressive come September 14th at the 02 London.
A Different Animal
Smudger said he is preparing vigorously for his move to the 74kg division. “I always push hard, but I am going the extra mile for this fight”. Having served ten years in the Prince of Wales’ Own Regiment of Yorkshire, Smudger is no stranger to pushing hard to sharpen mind and body.
Smudger tipped the scales at 84kg in his victorious BKB debut. He’s now already down to 76.5kg and will continue losing weight to get comfortably below the lightweight limit. Leeds-based Smith will then top up muscle mass with intense S&C training.
Smith’s middleweight record stands at 2-2. His losses were against high level competition and neither were straight-forward affairs.
In just his second BKB fight, Smudger challenged man-mountain and British Middleweight Champion Kris Trezise.
Smudger gave away 13lbs in weight and had to undergo two operations in the eight-week build-up. Until ten days before the fight, Smudger was “in bits”. He could hardly walk. BKB pound-for-pound king Jimmy Sweeney advised against accepting the fight. Wife Nini labelled him “mad”. Nonetheless, Smudger described the challenge as “an opportunity I couldn’t miss” and took the fight anyway.
“I’m coming to take a skinny jaw off its hinges in September”
The judges awarded Smith rounds one and two. The challenger seemed to edge the fourth also. However referee Clive Allison stopped the fight in the fifth. Trezise kept the title. “I wasn’t hurt once. Bar the cut, I walked out of there as fresh as I walked in. However, I respect the decision and have plenty of respect for my opponent Kris Trezise.”
Smith said: “These things happen in life, you can either whinge about them or get on with it. I’m not bothered and wish Trez all the best.” Smith is confident he would have retained Trezise’s title for a long time, had he won the championship clash.
Smudger’s wins were against Johnny Lawson and Evren Kasantug. The Kazakh’s weight advantage was so large that, under BKB rules, Smudger didn’t have to fight him. However, he still did and won convincingly. Smith’s most recent fight was against James Connelly in the middleweight prizefighter semi-final.
Moment of Realisation
Despite success at middleweight, Smith decided to step down a weight category. The 35-year-old said: “I’m at that point now where it’s make or break. What better way to do it than to come down.”
“I’ve stood my ground, left my mark and am moving on in weight to better success”
Smith modestly described his middleweight career as “up and down”. Yet, he’s grateful to the division that established him, saying: “People know I’m not to be taken lightly as a middleweight. So when I’m moving down, I’m going to be even more of tall order…Maybe I can have my bit of fun now.”
Two Sides to Every Coin
In a brutal world of blood and broken refreshingly light-hearted. Smith is a self-confessed joker out of the ring. Speaking to him, it’s easy to see how his natural charm makes him a fan favourite. Minutes after the middleweight prize-fighter semi-final, Smith continued entertaining fans. This time at the bar, with beer in hand.
The laughs continue on Smudger’s social media. Check his Instagram to see the Cuban shorts that nearly started a modelling career!
The Yorkshireman appreciates that supporters have paid hard earned money for tickets to see him. Feeling “blessed” to be in the ring, he is keen to give the personal touch too.
Smudger’s many Facebook followers see him participate in charity events to assist both friends and strangers.
The ex-soldier, who has toured Bosnia, Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Germany and Iraq, raised awareness for PTSD in his interview post his title challenge.
“I’m big on principals, morals and self-belief.”
Residing in Middleton, Leeds, Smudger is a popular figure in the community. During the interview, several friends and neighbours came to say hello. Smudger shared a story about when he was approached by a man who had been in prison alongside him. The man remembered “the boxer” fondly.
Smith started his three-and-a-half-year prison sentence aged 25. Now ten years older, Smith reflects: “It wasn’t easy.”
Weighing only 64kg, Smith still had unshakable confidence in his own ability. “Not necessarily to beat someone physically, but I could always beat them mentally.” Smith often stepped in to prevent beatings and quickly earnt a reputation for himself. He also hinted at a hard upbringing, revealing he was never “spoon fed”.
Don’t Look Back in Anger
Smith’s life has been a “rollercoaster”. He’s travelled the world; raised a family; served ten years in the army and spent three-and-a-half behind bars. Now he’s rebuilt his life and is a professional athlete. “I’ve been in a lot of bad places and a lot of good places. But they’re experiences I wouldn’t change for the world”. Smudger shared the lessons he’s learnt:
“Don’t regret anything. Fail big, fail often, but then come back stronger every time.”
The ex-serviceman and father-of-four asserted there is no shame in failing- there’s only shame in quitting.
Dean Smith’s story is truly book worthy. Asked what his autobiography would be like, Smith said the book would end with him as BKB Lightweight World Champion.
It’s a long road to become World Champion, but on September 14th at BKB18, Dean “Smudger” Smith gets one step closer.