FRANNY Smith closed his successful business so he could play a part in helping David Price achieve his dream of becoming world heavyweight champion.
He owned a company selling alcoholic test tube cocktail shots, but a return to boxing was too much to resist.
Smith trained Price as an amateur, but retired until getting the call to assist Adam Booth who had planned to mastermind the 2008 Olympic bronze medallist’s pro career.
It will be his greatest training triumph if Price defeats Audley Harrison at Liverpool’s Echo Arena on Saturday October 13 on Frank Maloney’s big bill.
Smith explained: “I had retired from training and David called me out of the blue if I would help Adam and it took about four seconds to take the job.
“He signed with Hayemaker and was going to be trained by Adam in Cyprus and London, but needed someone based in Liverpool.
“Adam didn’t have a lot to do with the first fight, and then David went off to Cyprus to work with him and David Haye for six weeks.
“When he returned the Setanta deal fell through. We separated from Adam and I became his main trainer.
“I kept my business going for 18 months, but my attentions were being geared more towards David.”
Smith’s planned to train Price exclusively, but has now taken on Nathan Brough, Paul Edwards and Neil Perkins although he refuses to take money from the three lesser known boxers.
He explained: “I didn’t ever go out to seek boxers and didn’t want any other boxers.
“It is just that I trained Nathan and Paul in the amateurs so I couldn’t refuse them and Neil is David’s friend and a great training partner.
“They are aware I am only here for David because he is the breadwinner.
“They don’t make much so I couldn’t physically take money when they are getting £1000a fight. How could I take 100 quid from them?
“I wouldn’t be able to train them, but for David because he can afford to keep me as a full-time trainer.
“I have sat down and said when they have a title fight, I’ll take something then. That is the deal, but while I have got David I should be financially secure.”
Although Smith is relatively unknown in professional circles outside of Liverpool, he had a fantastic career training amateurs at Salisbury ABC.
His amateur success stories include David and Stephen Burke, Derry Mathews, Paul Edwards and Price’s senior career.
Smith said: “There was various fighters going to world championships and we were winning major titles at ‘Solly’.
“I had been doing it for 20 years and we were probably the top club in the country.
“David had gone with the national squad and many of the kids I had since they were ten-years-old had turned professional or packed up.
“I was battling away producing the goods and then because I had neglected my work and kids I thought ‘I can only do this for so long.’
“It came to the crunch where I called it a day. So I started my own business and I was happy ticking along doing that until I got a call from the big man (Price).”
Smith is a relaxed character, but bristles with anger when Price ‘s ability from outsiders is questioned.
He added: “People say he hasn’t been tested, but when David first walked in the gym was getting beaten up every night.
“I started taking him around gyms and he was toughing it out with big men. He has gone and sparred with world class fighters who are trying to knock him out.
“As an amateur he fought the world’s best. Is that not enough?
“If Frank Bruno can win a world title, David can. He has a lot more ability and with the right fights he can do it.”
The talent stacked 14 fight card also includes a vacant British cruiserweight title fight between Shane McPhilbin (8-3) and Jon Lewis Dickinson (11-2), Chris Edwards’ (17-14-4) British and Commonwealth flyweight title defence against local Kevin Satchell (8-0) and a British light-welterweight title eliminator between Adil Anwar (17-1) and Dale Miles (13-1).
Tickets are selling fast but can be purchased £190 (VIP), £90 (ringside), £60, £40 atfrankmaloney.com or 0844 8000 400.
The show will be broadcast live from 7pm by the home of boxing BoxNation (Sky 437/Virgin 546). Join now at www.boxnation.com. The bout will be screened live in the USA by WealthTV.
EDWIN RODRIGUEZ VS. JASON ESCALERA AND LUIS DEL VALLE VS. VIC DARCHINYAN AND ALEX PEREZ VS. ANTONIN DECARIE
KICKS OFF FALL FOR THE HIT LATE-NIGHT RING FRANCHISE SATURDAY, SEPT. 29
HBO’s hit late-night boxing show kicks off the fall season with an action-packed tripleheader when HBO BOXING AFTER DARK: EDWIN RODRIGUEZ VS. JASON ESCALERA AND LUIS DEL VALLE VS. VIC DARCHINYAN AND ALEX PEREZ VS. ANTONIN DECARIE is seen SATURDAY, SEPT. 29 at 9:30 p.m. (live ET/tape-delayed PT), from the MGM Grand at Foxwoods Resort in Mashantucket, Conn., exclusively on HBO. The team of Bob Papa, Max Kellerman and Roy Jones Jr. will be ringside for the event, which will be available in HDTV, closed-captioned for the hearing-impaired and presented in Spanish on HBO Latino.
Other HBO playdate: Sept. 30 (9:30 a.m.)
HBO2 playdate: Sept. 30 (4:00 p.m.)
In a scheduled 12-round super middleweight showdown, Edwin Rodriguez (21-0, 14 KOs) of Worcester, Mass., takes on Jason Escalera (13-0-1, 12 KOs) of Hoboken, NJ. Originally from the Dominican Republic, Rodriguez has been dominant since starting his professional career at age 22 in 2008. He made his HBO debut in March, scoring a unanimous decision victory over Donovan George. Known for his brute force, Escalera will be making his HBO debut, having knocked out six of his last seven opponents within the first four rounds. Despite his height and reach advantages, Rodriguez will have his hands full with Escalera.
In the second bout of the evening, Luis Del Valle (16-0, 11 KOs) of Bayamon, Puerto Rico, squares off against veteran brawler Vic Darchinyan (37-5-1, 27 KOs) of South Wales, Australia, in a scheduled ten-round junior featherweight bout. Del Valle has taken significant steps up in competition recently, most notably handing Christopher Martin his second loss in March by a unanimous decision victory. Looking to rebound from consecutive losses, the Armenian-born Darchinyan will rely on his greater experience.
Opening the night, Alex Perez (16-0, 9 KOs) of Newark, NJ, takes on Antonin Decarie (26-1, 7 KOs) of Quebec, Canada, in a scheduled 12-round welterweight battle. The 29-year-old Decarie will use his experience to bring the fight to his opponent, in only his second fight on American soil. Perez, 30, looks to protect his undefeated record by utilizing his height advantage. This fight replaces the originally announced light heavyweight bout between Zsolt Erdei and Isaac Chilemba, which was cancelled due to injury.
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The executive producer of HBO BOXING AFTER DARK is Rick Bernstein; producer, Dave Harmon; director, Mike Sheehan.
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