Look­ing for win num­ber two

Fresh­wa­ter’s Wayne Smith keep his punches com­ing in Saskatchewan

The Compass - - Front page - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON THE COM­PASS editor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Boxer Wayne Smith of Fresh­wa­ter, Pla­cen­tia Bay, re­cently earned his first pro­fes­sional win, knock­ing out his op­po­nent in the third round of a fight held in Saska­toon, Sask. The 27-year-old said there were a lot of peo­ple back home happy to hear about his win, and he’s ready to earn more vic­to­ries in the ring.

When Wayne Smith of Fresh­wa­ter knocked out his op­po­nent in the third round of a box­ing match last month, his ini­tial im­pulse was to feel re­lieved.

“It was a re­lief to fi­nally, af­ter all the pro­fes­sional fights, I’ve fi­nally got one,” Smith told The Com­pass last week, re­flect­ing on his first pro­fes­sional vic­tory.

Cur­rently based in Saska­toon, Sask., Smith de­feated Jesse McMil­lan in a light­weight divi­sion bout April 29, sanc­tioned by the Saskatchewan Ath­letic Com­mis­sion. It was the eighth pro fight for the young Smith, who now has one win to go with five losses and two draws.

When he shared news of his vic­tory on Face­book, peo­ple back home re­acted strongly, con­grat­u­lat­ing Smith on his first win.

“There is a lot of peo­ple happy for me and a lot of peo­ple cheer­ing for me, and I’m happy about that,” said the 27-year-old.

Smith started box­ing in his home­town a few years ago with the Pla­cen­tia Box­ing Club, which was started by Eric Bray, a Texan who moved to the area for work.

“I used to get picked on back home, ev­ery­one just wrestling around and stuff like that, you know, and I just got in­ter­ested in (box­ing),” Smith said. “It kept me oc­cu­pied dur­ing the evenings, and it was cer­tainly fun.”

He was work­ing with a small group at the time, but the ex­pe­ri­ence of box­ing in Pla­cen­tia left Smith want­ing more once he left home to study ma­sonry in St. John’s and even­tu­ally moved to the main­land.

First fights

Af­ter leav­ing New­found­land, he con­tin­ued to pur­sue his pas­sion for box­ing. It was in Montreal that a coach sug­gested Smith con­sider box­ing pro­fes­sion­ally. Smith con­sulted his for­mer coach back in New­found­land and then agreed to go to North Dakota in the fall of 2013 for his first fight against Amer­i­can Devonte Don­ald­son. That match was a split-de­ci­sion loss.

“It was just some­thing that I was good at, and I fig­ured that I was go­ing to make it some­day. It might not be to­day, but it’s go­ing to be to­mor­row.”

Smith’s early re­sults in North Dakota, Montreal, Ed­mon­ton and Cal­gary were not quite what he was hop­ing for, though none of the five bouts he was on the los­ing end of were the re­sult of knock­outs. He’s been do­ing bet­ter since mov­ing to Saskatchewan. His match last Oc­to­ber pre­vi­ous to the fight in April was a draw against Ian Ab­bott.

Lead­ing up to last month’s knock­out win, Smith trained hard and looked af­ter his body in prepa­ra­tion for the fight.

“I’ve got a new coach (Den­nis Page) who is teach­ing me the tech­ni­cal side of box­ing. In­stead of just go­ing out fight­ing, he’s teach­ing me how to think and throw cer­tain punches.”

For now, Smith in­tends to stick with the sport to see where it takes him. He hopes to get booked for a fight ev­ery threeto-four months.

“I don’t have any goals of world champ or any­thing like that, but if the op­por­tu­nity comes, if a ti­tle-fight op­por­tu­nity comes, I’m cer­tainly go­ing to be in­ter­ested in it, be­cause I’m not stopping now.”

“There is a lot of peo­ple happy for me and a lot of peo­ple cheer­ing for me, and I’m happy about that.”

Wayne Smith

PAGE PRO­FES­SIONAL SPORT PRO­MO­TION/PUR­PLE STONE PHOTOGRAPHY

Wayne Smith moves around the ring dur­ing a match last fall in Saska­toon, Sask.

PAGE PRO­FES­SIONAL SPORT PRO­MO­TION

Jesse McMil­lan, left, and Wayne Smith at the weigh-in held prior to their match last month in Saskatchewan.

PAGE PRO­FES­SIONAL SPORT PRO­MO­TION/PUR­PLE STONE PHOTOGRAPHY

RIGHT: Wayne Smith, left, and Ian Ab­bott touch gloves fol­low­ing a draw be­tween the two fight­ers. The de­ci­sion was made based on points.

PAGE PRO­FES­SIONAL SPORT PRO­MO­TION

Wayne Smith hails from Fresh­wa­ter, Pla­cen­tia Bay, and got his start in box­ing with the Pla­cen­tia Box­ing Club.

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