FORMER world champion Ishe “Sugar Shay” Smith (28-8, 12 KOs) is locked in and focused on training camp as he prepares to headline Premier Boxing Champions: The Next Round on Bounce TV Friday, September 16 as he takes on once-beaten contender Frank “Notorious” Galarza (17-1, 11 KOs) from The Chelsea inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
Televised coverage begins on Bounce TV at 9 p.m. ET/PT and features a super welterweight showdown between Domonique Dolton (17-0-1, 9 KOs) and Justin DeLoach (15-1, 8 KOs).
The Las Vegas-native will be fighting in his hometown for the 18th time in his career when he faces Galarza. A former 154-pound titlist, Smith looks to prove that he is still amongst the championship contenders in the division with a victory on September 16.
Here is what Smith had to say about training camp, his opponent and more:
How has this training camp been going and how does it compare to past camps?
“Pretty steady, we are taking things back to the basics and correcting a lot of errors. We are focused on fixing some things and working on a few new techniques. We are going back to school and fine tuning the details. It is so hard to compete at the highest level in boxing. The champion and contender level is very challenging. I have lost a couple of close fights at this level, and won a few at this level as well.
“This training camp has been good but more challenging than the past camps. I normally am the one calling the shots and taking control, but I have given all of that to my coaches and let them take the reins. I have been in this game for 16 years, 30 overall as both a professional and amateur. If I want to get where I need to be, I need to have the right team in place, and that is what I respect about my current team.”
What kind of skill set does your opponent bring and how do you prepare for it?
“I’m not wasting my time focusing on what Galarza does or what he has done to his opponents. My opponent is myself and executing the game plan that we put forth. A lot of people think this is a big step up for him and they usually get hungrier when given the opportunity, but I have been in there with other hungry young fighters. I am going to go out there and show him there are levels to this.”
If you can get past Galarza, who would you like to fight in the 154-pound division next?
“I am totally focusing on the opponent at hand. I would like to fight again this year if possible, but my main focus is Galarza. He is coming off of a loss, where he got stopped. I have been in there with everybody, and the guys I lost to were controversial decisions. I have been around the block so my main opponent on September 16 is myself. There are levels to this game and I am going to treat this fight at such.”
What does it mean to you to fight in front of your hometown fans in Las Vegas?
“Whenever I can fight in front of my family, friends, and loved ones, it means everything to me. I have never fought at the Cosmopolitan, but have been to fights there. Headlining a fight there adds another notch to my career.”
As one of the more experienced members of the Mayweather Promotions stable, have you taken on a mentor/leadership role with the young fighters in the gym?
“Most definitely. I am the oldest on the team, so if I feel like guys are doing things wrong or if I think they should be going right instead of left, I definitely let them know. I am an old soul. I may not hang out every day or want to do the things they like to do, but I still give them my advice.
“I hope that I help to motivate them. I want to prevent them from making some of the decisions I made that I then had to learn from. Some may think I’m being hard on them but you just have to take it as constructive criticism and keep learning.”