Twin brother convinced Islington Boxing Club’s new national champion not to quit
- Credit: Archant
Islington BC’s new national champion Scott Smart says his brother’s influence helped persuade him not to quit the sport after a bad run of injuries.
Smart triumphed in the Class A under-52kg final of the Development Championships on Sunday, taking a unanimous points decision against Connor Raine (Shildon) – while Sherif Musah completed a double for Islington by overcoming Ciaran Nelson (Sefton) in the Class B Under-81kg final.
Smart’s success, in the Wearside town of Houghton-le-Spring, was all the more remarkable given that he had only ended his year-long absence from the ring a few weeks earlier.
The 22-year-old admits he considered hanging up his gloves for good, but credited his twin brother Troy – also a member of the Hazellville Road club – for helping convince him to work his way back to fitness.
“There was a list of things – first I couldn’t get fights at the weight I was boxing at, then I suffered a broken nose and had a lot of other niggling injuries,” Smart told the Gazette.
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“I lost motivation and there was a point where I thought about giving it up. My brother was boxing then and achieving a lot, with a medal in the Haringey Box Cup, and representing the club really well.
“I wanted to do that too and it inspired me to carry on. He was calling me up to make sure I was on it, getting me to go running with him or go and do some sparring.
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“By the time the new season came around, I’d started training hard again and I’d got the hunger back. I had to have a lot of discipline in terms of getting up in the mornings and doing my runs.
“It’s been a hard road for me, but it was all worth it in the end and I’m overjoyed. It’s all credit to the club and the coaches there, who put in so much work.”
Smart, who lives in North Wembley, first stumbled upon the Islington club after browsing the internet for an ABA-affiliated training venue three years ago.
The brothers both settled in quickly and Scott progressed to secure a London title and reach the national final of what was then known as the novices’ championships later that year.
“It’s a quality club,” said Smart, who works as a customer consultant at Carphone Warehouse. “Straight away you could hear the bags going and the coaches shouting – it felt like a good boxing environment.
“I lost in the final in the first year I was boxing, so I was keen to go one better and coming towards Sunday’s fight I had a lot more confidence in my ability.
“It was just about going in there and showing my ability. I was landing the better shots and I wasn’t getting hit too much. Now I need to keep that momentum rolling and keep improving.
“My next target is probably the Box Cup, but right now I want to get more fights on club shows or travel wherever I need to. The fire’s burning again.”
Smart started slowly in Sunday’s final, but gradually settled down with a series of good straight jabs and really found his range in the second round.
Raine was unable to relieve the pressure and it was the Islington boxer who maintained control, finishing strongly to clinch a unanimous decision.
Smart will be reverting to a spectator’s role on Friday night to cheer on his brother at Islington’s dinner show, which takes place at the Royal National Hotel, Russell Square, from 7pm.
Troy faces a rematch against Harry Connelly (Hooks ABC), who he beat on the Park Royal club’s show last week.