Islington Boxing Club star secures his place in GB squad

Islington BC's Mason Smith with his England Boxing Southern Area belt

Islington BC's Mason Smith with his England Boxing Southern Area belt - Credit: Archant

Islington BC’s Mason ‘Smasher’ Smith is savouring an early Christmas present after learning of his selection for the GB Boxing podium potential squad.

The 20-year-old light-welterweight, who has been assessed for the squad three times in recent months, finally received confirmation on Friday, just hours before boxing for England in Dublin.

Although the Islington boxer was defeated by European Games bronze medallist Sean McComb, the loss could not take the edge off his feeling of exhilaration.

From next month, he will spend four days each fortnight at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield, training three times daily alongside the rest of the GB podium potential squad.

And Smith, who works as a BT engineer, feels his place in the squad bears out his decision to switch from Finchley ABC at the start of the season.

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He told the Gazette: “I had an email come through while I was eating my lunch, inviting me to join the squad in January. It was a great Christmas present!

“I feel like my hard work has paid off and going to Islington was clearly a good thing. Everything’s just fallen into place since then – securing my [England Boxing Southern Area] belt and defending it, and now this.

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“Now I’m taking my boxing to a new level. The plan was to get into the GB team this year and then continue the journey, hopefully on to the next Commonwealth Games and the Olympics in 2020.

“I’ve seen a change in the way I box – technically I’m better from sparring so many boys who are world class and now it’s about trying to win tournaments.”

Smith was unable to end the year with a victory against McComb, whose superior footwork earned him a unanimous decision as Ireland triumphed 5-2.

The Islington boxer added: “He was fast on his feet and I did catch him with a few big shots in the second round but I couldn’t get hold of him after that. It’s good to be mixing with people at that kind of level though.”

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