Daria the boss in fight ring

Auckland City Harbour News - - SPORT - By BEN ROGERS

Kick­box­ing champ Daria Smith was de­ter­mined to prove her hus­band wrong when he said she wouldn’t like fight­ing.

Three years on the 29-year-old Muay Thai com­peti­tor has just won the 58.2 kilo­gram ISKA South Pa­cific Belt.

‘‘It was a tough fight, the girl I fought was heav­ier than me, she had only ever lost one fight and held seven ti­tles,’’ the Beach­lands res­i­dent says.

‘‘It was her home ring . . . I got the win in the end so that was pretty cool.’’

Smith won the South Pa­cific ti­tle in Syd­ney on a points decision at the end of five two-minute rounds.

The mother-of-one has al­ready achieved her goal of win­ning a ti­tle in 2014 and has the chance to make it two be­fore the year’s end.

‘‘It shows you if you work re­ally hard to­wards any­thing you will get it in the end.’’

To­mor­row she takes on Miriam ‘‘Hum­ming­bird’’ Tio for the WMC Light­weight New Zealand ti­tle as part of the Lethal Ladies Muay Thai event, which will fea­ture 32 fe­male fight­ers.

It’s a big night for the sport in New Zealand, Smith says.

‘‘When I first started there weren’t too many girls around and even ear­lier on there were all of 10.’’

‘‘We are still lack­ing ex­pe­ri­enced girls but there are a lot more novice girls that are com­ing through.’’

She has also been named in the New Zealand team trav­el­ling to Bangkok, the spir­i­tual home of Muay Thai, next year to fight in the world cham­pi­onships.

The sport is ex­tremely phys­i­cal but Smith says there is some­thing fas­ci­nat­ing about it.

She trains at the Fight­ing Fit Academy Gym in Pan­mure and fell in love with the code after her first time in the ring.

‘‘With Muay Thai there are el­bows to the face, knees to the face, so it can get quite in­tense quite quickly.

‘‘It’s bru­tal but it’s also quite beau­ti­ful be­cause it is very tra­di­tional.’’

‘‘There is a cer­tain way you en­ter the ring and there is an en­trance dance that ev­ery fighter must do.

‘‘It shows re­spect for your op­po­nent and your trainer and for ev­ery­thing you’ve gone through.’’

It is this re­spect and tra­di­tion that makes Muay Thai dif­fer­ent to the more west­ern­ised ver­sions of kick­box­ing and fight­ers reap the ben­e­fits, Smith says.

‘‘It teaches you a lot about your­self and for me my big­gest op­po­nent is my­self.’’

Ti­tle holder: Kick boxer Daria Smith with the 58.2kg ISKA South Pa­cific Belt she won in Syd­ney.

Big kick: Daria Smith, right, in ac­tion in the ring in Syd­ney on her way to a ti­tle.

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