Despite being frustrated when his felled opponent stood up when the referee’s count reached nine, Motherwell kickboxer Darren Smith kept his focus to secure a unanimous points victory.
The 73kg WKU Commonwealth pro-am title win over Irishman Keiran Boyle in Londonderry last week – Smith’s sixth belt in the past three years – has elevated the 26-year-old Ailsa Avenue man “into the big league”.
“I knocked Keiran down with a right hand at the end of the third round,” Darren said.
“He got up on nine and the bell went.
“Keiran was a very tough nut to crack, a former World and European title challenger who had never been put down before.
“He’s a handy boy, so I was really happy to win.
“This is the biggest title I’ve ever landed and I’ve done it all domestically now.
“This is the first world ranked belt I’ve won, so I’m going into the big leagues now.
“I now want to go abroad and fight for European and World titles.”
Darren, who was fighting out of Motherwell’s Inferno Gym until it closed recently, is backed by trainer Gary McLeary.
The Motherwell fighter revealed that his victory over Boyle was achieved in controversial circumstances after the Irishman landed an illegal punch to Darren’s throat which went unpunished.
“Getting punched to the throat was a nightmare,” Darren said.
“It’s illegal but Keiran got away with it.
“I was gagging after that punch and the throat swelled up so much that I couldn’t put my gumshield on.
“But other than that, I didn’t have a mark on me.”
Darren’s mum Paula is understandably thrilled with her son’s recent kickboxing triumphs, as he continues to climb the ladder of success in a tough martial art which saw him fight five rounds of two minutes against Boyle.
“I’m absolutely delighted with how Darren’s been doing,” Paula said.
“He puts a lot of hard work in and I’m so proud.
“He trains hard, sacrifices a lot and he deserves it.”
Darren’s day job sees him lay panels on windfarms as a driver’s mate with TPA Portable Portable Roadways, based in Lesmahagow.
Darren, the current ISKA Scottish and WKA Five Nations title holder, will face ex-world champion Fernando Heredia, of Spain, in a 78kg WKU world title fight in Majorca on August 6.
He is also lined up for a WKU European title fight on November 5, when his supporters will be hoping he produces plenty of fireworks!
Darren would like to thanks his sponsor Cameron Dalziel of C and C Transport, Motherwell.