Brett Smith (left) & Brian Fitzgerald: photo Tim Barry
By Paul Upham: Newly crowned NSW heavyweight boxing champion Brett Smith has received an unexpected call-up at short notice to appear on the David Tua-Friday Ahunanya undercard in Auckland, New Zealand on Wednesday night.
On March 12, Smith won the vacant NSW belt with a stunning 0:37 second 1st round knockout victory over Brian Fitzgerald It was the come-backing 34 year-old’s first fight in two years.
Two days after his last fight on 29th February 2008, Smith’s father Brian passed away. The talented tradesman who runs his own successful business spent time with his family and concentrating on his work away from the sport.
“I just needed time with the people close to me,” Smith explained. “I had a year off from boxing after dad died. Then I hurt a ligament in my hand, which prevented me from coming back sooner. Now I’m back fighting again.”
Smith 13-6-2 (7) was a huge underdog going into the match with Fitzgerald. A knockout win for the much smaller boxer was almost incomprehensible, considering that Fitzgerald had previously gone the distance with John Hopoate and Bowie Tupou, twice.
“It was more than an upset,” agreed Smith. “I just love being the underdog.”
Asked how he managed to pull off such a stunning win, Smith replied, “I think I hit different to them (Hopoate & Tupou). I hit with a crack rather than a thud. I hit them with that real snap. It was everything we worked at. We went the body, then we went over the top.”
“It was my most memorable win,” continued Smith. “I couldn’t get a fight. Then I was offered a NSW title match. I would have fought at cruiserweight, but I couldn’t get a fight. I would have fought six months earlier, but I couldn’t get a fight. I had never really worried about winning title belts, but it was a great win which is now offering new opportunities.”
Late last week, Solomon Haumono was forced to pull out of his match with 39 year-old Puerto Rican Israel Carlos Garcia 19-3 (11). Now Smith steps into the breach.
“When I beat this guy on Wednesday night, what will the next opportunities be,” asked Smith. “I am not going there to lose. I am not going there to make up the numbers. I don’t know much about Garcia. Only what I saw on the television promos, ‘Solomon Haumono’s toughest fight’ they claimed. He is cagey and he knows his way around the ring.”
Smith and trainer Roy Alexander arrived in New Zealand on Monday. Stepping into the main support bout as a relative unknown, the Sydney born boxer finds it amusing how quickly he has risen from obscurity to appear on a David Tua event.
“For a career that had stalled this is really great,” he smiled.
The Tua-Ahunanya card will be televised live in New Zealand and live into Australia on Main Event Television and at participating Fox Sports Pub & Club venues from 6:00pm AEDT.
Wednesday 31 March 2010
The Trusts Stadium, Auckland, New Zealand
David Tua vs. Friday Ahunanya, 12rds - heavyweight
Brett Smith vs. Israel Carlos Garcia, 8rds - heavyweight
Robert Berridge vs. Areta Gilbert, 6rds - cruiserweight
Oscar Siale vs. Jameson Bostic, 6rds - cruiserweight
Christina Tai vs. Layla McCarter, 6rds - lightweight
Leamy Taito vs. Clarence Tillman, 4rds - heavyweight