Friday, May 31, 2013

Professional prizefighting, meet Anthony "Lights-Out" Smith

Note--Anthony “Lights-Out” Smith was to have made his pro-boxing debut on May 25th in Ontario, California. However, as the world of professional prize-fighting is often susceptible to change, especially at the club show and small event level, that bout was scratched. But Team Lights Out scrambled and now, Anthony Smith Jr makes his pro-debut tomorrow night at the Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma, Washington, on the undercard of Zahir Raheem versus Justin Juuko.

Check out our interview with Anthony Smith, below…

Professional Prize-Fighting, meet Anthony “Lights-Out” Smith
By Alex Pierpaoli

On Saturday night in Ontario, CA, 20 year old Anthony Smith makes his prizefighting debut as a featherweight on a card promoted by All Star Boxing.
At just 20 years old, the bold fighter hopes Saturday night’s four-round bout will be the start of a busy first year as a pro.
“I’m looking to fight every month,” Smith said. “That’s at the least.”

That might sound like a rather ambitious schedule and perhaps too rigorous for such a young man, but discipline and sacrifice are not pie-in-the-sky attributes for Anthony Smith, he’s grown up around a solid and serious work ethic.

“My dad was a Marine for 21 years. His name’s Anthony Smith. I’m a junior…He worked at the military school in Battle Creek, Michigan. There was a young marine program in Battle Creek and I got up to a lance corporal…so I know what it takes to be a Marine.”

And what sort of fighter will fans see when they show up at the Citizens Business Bank Arena to watch this Marine’s son?

“Unpredictable,” said Smith, in describing his style. “I’m a boxer-puncher.”

Although new to professional boxing, Smith is not a newcomer to combat sports, let alone athletics. In high school he tried his skills at just about every sport available.

“I didn’t have time for lacrosse because lacrosse was the same season as baseball and I did baseball instead.”

Although he did well in many sports, it was the combat oriented ones that offered Smith something special.

“The aggressiveness. The stress relief,” Smith described. “The contemplation; where you have to actually think instead of just going in there and brawling. You can do that in MMA[brawl] if you want, but most likely you’ll end up being caught in the end.”

Anthony Smith is 7-0 as an MMA fighter; he picked up 2 belts in that sport and internet-surfers can see him use his punching skills, tenacity and an impressive body-slam, to finish off his opponent in a YouTube clip versus Korey Roe.
After success as an amateur boxer, it is now in his build-up to turning professional that Smith is really starting to sink deeper into the boxing world. In hopes of learning from the best, Smith sought out Jeff Mayweather, the least controversial member of boxing’s first family, and the pair have established a solid working relationship. In fact, just the experience of training at the Mayweather Gym and being in that environment has had an impact on Smith.
“It’s real good. It’s motivational,” Anthony Smith explained. “You can learn a lot from that gym. If you just step foot in that gym you’ll see everybody’s focused. Nobody’s lollygagging or talking. Everybody’s either on the bags or doing mitts or talking to their coach about strategy. Everybody’s active in that gym. It’s all about business in that gym…And it’s real hot! It’ll make you or break you. And it’s making me and I love it.”
Smith is making himself into a prizefighter through an all-business training regimen that includes running at altitude in the mountains outside Las Vegas, and a daily torture-tour of the Mayweather Gym’s equipment.
“I stretch, shadow box, probably jump rope for like fifteen minutes to get my legs warmed up…Then I do mitt work with Jeff Mayweather. Then from there I go straight to the punching bag for about 6 rounds. And then from there I go to the double-end bag for 3 or 4 rounds depending how I’m feeling. And then from there I’ll go to the speedbag, and then to the uppercut bag. Basically I use all the equipment in the gym,” Smith admitted. “And then if Jeff wants to do another round of mitt work then we’ll go a few more rounds. I like to push myself beyond max so I can exceed my max.”
Recently Smith had a new opportunity to explore his max when he was invited to spar with undefeated contender Yuriorkis Gamboa. Smith learned a lot in their brief encounter and he was refreshingly honest in recounting their meeting.
“He’s a heavy hitter,” Smith laughed. “He’s a heavy hitter. He outweighs me by about 30 pounds. For the first round I did real good with him, I busted his lip and after that he came with force. And I ended up taking a knee. And I just got outta the ring cuz I couldn’t handle it anymore. He turned up the heat. It was too much for me.”
Although impressed with Gamboa’s power, Smith admires some of the most complete and accomplished fighters in the sport like Floyd Mayweather Jr and Sergio Martinez. Smith remarked about Martinez’ recent effort versus Martin Murray and how the Middleweight Champion was able to rally and secure a win when things were less than ideal.

“He’s a warrior-at-heart,” Smith said in describing Martinez. “I cherish warriors-at-heart cuz I’m one myself. He has no fear in his heart to fight anybody. And you should have that in boxing. Cuz if you have fear in your heart, then, I won’t say boxing’s not for you, but I’ll say boxing’s gonna be harder for you to adapt to.”

Confronting fear as well as what one can physically endure or adapt to are things every prizefighter must learn to deal with, and not everyone succeeds

“Because not anybody would step in that ring with Gamboa. But I did!” Smith laughed heartily in self-mocking. “I did!”

On Saturday night, Smith isn’t likely to face someone as fearsome as Gamboa but the risks and potential dangers will be there, as well as that which Smith and every young fighter so craves; the opportunity to forge an identity for themselves with their fists.

For Anthony “Lights Out” Smith, on May twenty-fifth, that identity-building process begins.

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