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Daniella Smith


New Zealand welterweight "Diamond" Daniella Smith was born in Kaikohe in the far North of New Zealand's North Island on July 20, 1972. She is one of five children and is of Ngāpuhi (Maori) descent. She played basketball through school and was picked for representative teams in High School.

In 1998,  Daniella decided to give boxing a try as a form of cross-training. She enjoyed it so much that she applied herself and ended up having her first amateur fight in 1999.  That year she won the silver medal in the 75-kg division of the national championships, and won the gold medal in 2000, 2001, 2003, and 2004 (she was unable to compete in 2002). 

In 2002 she was a recipient of a New Zealand Maori Sports Awards scholarship.

She went on to win numerous national titles in various weight divisions and represented New Zealand on the international stage from 2002 to 2004. She competed at the 2002 world championships in Turkey and eventually took the Oceania Games 70-kg gold medal in 2004, making her the top women's welterweight in Australasia.  She finished her amateur career with a 34-6 record

Daniella joined the professional ranks in 2005 and made her pro debut on the undercard of David Tua's comeback fight at Waitakere's Trusts Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand on March 31, 2005.  Daniella (150 lbs) fought tough Sue Glassey (5'5", 147 lbs) who had a world kickboxing title and a national pro boxing title. Daniella won all four rounds outpointing her game opponent by a unanimous decision. ProboxNZ reported that: "Using her reach advantage to good effect she kept Glassey at a distance and accumulated points with her left jab. On the few occasions Glassey was able to catch her on the ropes she was able to quickly work clear and continue to work her stategy of maintainig her distance and scoring from the outside. A polished all-round performance earned her a unanimous points victory." Glassey's pro boxing record fell to 2-1.

On December 16, 2005 at the Coral Reef Restaurant in Auckland, Daniella (156 lbs) won  four-round decision over New Zealand kickboxing champion Renei Bevims (163 lbs) who was making her pro boxing debut. 

On May 6, 2006 at Headhunters Motorcycle Club in Ellerslie, New Zealand, Daniella won the NZPBA Junior Middleweight title with a six-round unanimous decision in a rematch with Sue Glassey, who fell to 2-2. 

On Novermber 17, 2006 at Sky City Convention Centre in Auckland,  Daniella (149 lbs) won a six-round split (59-55,60-54,56-58) decision over Victoria Cisneros (5'5", 145 lbs) of Akbuqerque, New Mexico, USA, who fell to 3-6-2 (0 KO's).

On June 8, 2007 at Sky City Casino in Auckland, Daniella (151 lbs) won a four-round unanimous decision over pro debuter Sandra Almeida (155 lbs) from East London, South Africa.

On November 2, 2007 at Sky City Convention Centre in Auckland,  Layla McCarter (141 lbs) of Las Vegas, Nevada, USA won a six-round unanimous (60-54 x 3) decision over Daniella (147 lbs). Multiple world champion  McCarter had stepped up to welterweight in order to fight Smith, and her speed and skill delivered the New Zealander her first loss as a pro while she improved to 26-13-5 (5 KO's)

Daniela SMith vs Nive MoefaauoIn 2007 Daniella was named Northland Maori Sportswoman of the Year.

On June 28, 2008 at the TSB Bank Arena in Wellington, New Zealand, Daniella won a six-round split (58-56,57-58,58-56) decision over Nive Moefaauo of Brisbane, Australia, who fell to 0-2.

On December 13, 2008 at ABA Stadium in Auckland, Daniella (145 lbs) won a unanimous six-round (59-55,60-55,59-56) decision over former kickboxer Lisa Mauala (146 lbs) of New Zealand for the vacant NZPBA welterweight title.   Mauala fell to 2-1 (0 KO's) with the loss.

On March 7, 2009 at Rugby Park in Gisborne, New Zealand, Daniella (144 lbs) won another unanimous six-round decision over Lisa Mauala (146 lbs), this time by scores of 60-54, 60-53 and 60-54.  Mauala dropped to 2-2 (0 KO's).

Daniella Smith vs Gabriela ZapataOn August 27, 2010 at the ABA Stadium in Auckland, Daniella  (142 lbs) came back from a nearly fifteen-month layoff and won a clear eight-round unanimous (80-75,79-73,79-75) decision over Gabriela Zapata (146 lbs) of Capitan Bermudez, Argentina.  According to Crispin Anderlini of NZFighters.com: "Zapata was powerful, but swung too wildly, letting Smith unpick her defences with quick, accurate combinations to body and head".  Zapata fell to 8-5 (3 KO's).  

The bout with Zapata was intended to help Smith prepare for her next fight, which would be a world title shot.  “Get in there have a really good bash up and get the feel for fighting again, and I loved it; it was so cool so I think that's helped prepare me hugely” said Smith, who had helped to raise funds to pay for the event. 

Jennifer Retzke vs Daniella SmithOn November 12, 2010 at Circusarena Alt Glienicke in Mitte, Berlin, Germany, Daniella (142 lbs) won an evenly-fought ten-round unanimous (96-93,96-94,99-90) decision over previously unbeaten Jennifer Retzke (146 lbs) of Berlin for the vacant IBF Welterweight title.  Both landed solidly and cleanly throughout a well-contested battle. Smith dropped Retzke to one knee late in the fight; the Berliner took an eight count but continued to trade solidly with Smith when the action resumed. "I knew I had to convince the judges that I was beating her and I was beating her well" said Smith. Both boxers were bruised and marked around the eyes at the end of a hard fought contest.  Retzke fell to 10-1 (7 KO's) while Smith improved to 10-1 (0 KO's). [Video]

“It was a good fight,” stated IBF/USBA Championships Chairman Lindsey Tucker. “We were pleased to have such formidable female boxers fighting for our title and we are proud to have Daniella Smith as the organization’s first female champion.”   (Retzke went on to win the IBF's vacant Junior Middleweight title in April 2011.)

On June 11, 2011 at Carnival City, Brakpan, South Africa, undefeated Noni “She Bee Stinging” Tenge (146 lbs) of Mooiplaas, South Africa won by a fourth round TKO over Daniella Smith (146 lbs) for the IBF Welterweight title. Sbu Mjikeliso reported at DispatchOnline: "The New Zealander started the fight at a quick tempo, showing enthusiasm by landing as many punches as she could against the defensively astute Tenge. Smith, however, couldn’t maintain her early blitz and soon she was exposed.   She was saved by the bell in the third round after she met a Tenge right to the face which sent her to the ropes struggling to remain on her feet. Tenge was visibly the stronger puncher of the two boxers. Smith, as fast as her punches were, never made any progress in unsettling Tenge. Tenge upped the ante at the beginning of the fourth round. She stalked her opponent, jabbed her towards the ropes until she landed a combination of punches that exposed the dethroned champion’s leaky defence. The knockout blow came a minute and 54 seconds into the round."   Tenge, who became SOuth Africa's first female boxing world champion, advanced to 11-0-1 (9 KO's) while Smith fell to 10-2 (0 KO's.

Daniella trains with coach Monty Betham at Boxing Alley Parnell in Auckland, a gym where she is a co-owner and a trainer.  She is usually in the gym at 7 a.m. seven days a week after running seven kilometers to get there.     

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Page last updated: Friday, 24 June 2011


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