SAM “SNIPER” SMITH says his lack of experience proved costly as he suffered the first defeat of his professional career.
Sniper knocked opponent Kirk Garvey down in the first round of the Southern Area title eliminator in Camden, but admits he failed to manage the fight afterwards before eventually being stopped in the seventh round.
That takes the former Pinewood Starr man’s record to 4-1, having not fought since April 2017, while Garvey moves onto 11-1.
“Everything went to plan in round one,” Smith told The Wokingham Paper.
“My jabs were sharp, everything went smooth and then I dropped him in the first round, he hit the canvas and I thought I had him.
“He was in serious trouble, but he’s an experienced pro. Inexperienced, I tried to jump on someone, he weathered the storm and I used all my energy and that was it really.
“That was the downfall for me.
“I gained the extra point by dropping him so it was a 10-8 round, but I actually went back to my corner the one who was worse for wear in some ways, not by being hit but just where I was so tired.”
Since his win over Josef Obeslo almost a year ago, Smith has seen a number of planned fights cancelled at the last minute.
And despite months of hard training, the 25-year-old admits being out of the ring for so long proved costly.
He added: “I didn’t have a nerve in my body going into the fight.
“I felt cool, calm and collected and I didn’t feel the pressure of the fight, it was the inexperience.
“I didn’t really expect him to hit the floor like that. He’s been on the floor before so it’s nothing new for him. He gathered his bearings and he got back to work and it was a shell of me in there, that’s what was left.
“It was only my heart that really saw me through to the rest of the rounds. I got stopped in the seventh but I don’t know how I got there. I was running on empty from round one.
“Inexperience of only having four fights, going in against someone who had 11, it sort of showed as well as a bit of ring rust.”
Despite feeling he was well in the contest when the referee did bring it to a halt in the seventh, Smith says he could have no complaints with the decision.
“I sort of stumbled on the ropes and then the ref stopped it,” he recalled.
“I think it was probably a good call looking back at it. Someone died boxing last week so you’ve got to take your hat off to the ref for doing his job.
“Looking back at it now I would’ve done things a little bit different.
“I would’ve just stuck to my boxing and that was where I was most dangerous.
“When I was boxing, he couldn’t get anywhere near me and I was out-boxing the boxer because that’s his game.
“Fair play to him, he took full advantage and got the stoppage.”
While Garvey now goes on to fight for a title, it is back to the drawing board for Sniper.
But he insists there are plenty of positives to take from the loss and has already arranged his next fight, which will take place at York Hall in Bethnal Green on April 14, and believes a rematch with Garvey could be on the cards in the future.
“I’ve not lost any confidence,” he said.
“Even though it was a defeat, I feel like I’ve learned more in that than what I’d learn in 10 fights against the opposition I’ve been facing.
“Where it was such a close fight, I think in the future we’ll definitely consider getting it back on again.
“I think the fans would love to see that again. It’s definitely got people talking so it’s definitely worthy of a title.
“I’ve got to get myself back in that mix. I think I definitely belong at that level and I showed that the other night.
“I want to get as many fights and get as much experience as I can and then hopefully look for a title by the end of the year, that is my plan.
“I’ve taken so much positive from that fight, even though it was a loss, it actually feels like it was a blessing in some ways.
“Some things are just meant to be and I feel like I’ve learnt my lesson.”