A WYCOMBE boxer followed in the footsteps of global stars like Joe Calzaghe and Ricky Hatton after winning a national title in Leeds on Saturday.
High Wycombe ABC boxer Ben Smith was a beaten finalist in last year’s CYP Championship, but he drew a line under that and joined an elite list of past winners with an unanimous decision over Essex champion Nick Tipler.
Coach John MacInnes said: “He’s the best I’ve ever coached. We’ve had some fantastic talent come through our doors but he’s the one who has the whole package.
“He’s a star in the making and I really think he can make it to the top and reach the heights set by the two world champions.”
Smith had to beat some tough opponents on his way to the title, including the Northern Irish champion and a European bronze medalist.
He won fights in Birmingham, Sunderland and Leeds but can now look forward to Christmas as the first High Wycombe ABC boxer to win a national title.
MacInnes said: “He was in control from the word go. After 30 seconds I was confident he was going to win the belt and I’m over the moon.
“To win a national title for the first time means everything to us as a club and I’m hoping it will now inspire the rest of the squad to reach the standards Ben is setting.”
Smith has already boxed for England and has been invited on two GB development training camps since London 2012.
MacInnes said: “I spoke to the GB coaches and they said he shows real promise for someone his age.
“He’s on their radar and they’re keeping a very close eye on how he performs in national competitions.
“Winning this will be a massive step for him and I hope he now pushes on and boxes for England regularly. He’s improving everyday, but that would really take him to the next level.”
Meanwhile, MacInnes has paid special tribute to club coach Adrian Moco and Holmer Green Secondary School, which has adjusted timetables to allow Smith to fit in all his training.