PADDY Fitzpatrick believes Sam ‘Sniper’ Smith can cause a stir in the super-middleweight ranks after making a winning start at his new weight earlier this month.

Smith, who trains at Fitzpatrick’s Ferndale Road gym, had competed as a light-heavyweight in the first seven bouts of his career, but dropped down for the recent Neilson Boxing-promoted ‘Kings of the Ring’ show in the town.

The 25-year-old looked at home at his new level and claimed a points win over Latvia’s Raimonds Sniedze at the MECA.

Two of Smith’s previous three bouts at light-heavyweight had ended in defeat – to highly-rated Kirk Garvey back in March and Shakan Pitters in November’s Ultimate Boxxer tournament.

Fitzpatrick feels his man is much better suited to fighting at a lower weight and is excited by what he might be able to achieve in the class.

“It was nice to see Sniper at a weight that suited him. He showed good form and good shape,” said Fitzpatrick.

“I thought he boxed really well until the last round when he started to hang his head a little bit to the right-hand side too much instead of shifting it from side to side.

“It is nice to get the win, so we can say: ‘He finished the calendar year with a win, he gained great experience this year and had a lot of knowledge put into him.

“I look forward to seeing him get in the mix at super-middleweight next year.

“In the space of eight fights, he has proven that he will fight anyone – he has no problem fighting people.

“No one wanted to fight Kirk Garvey, but Sniper did, and then in the Ultimate Boxxer competition, he was he entered alongside all good men and he fought an absolute giant in the first stage.

“That was at light-heavyweight and he just wasn’t growing into it, so I am looking forward to what he can do at super-middleweight. I am excited and so is he.”

Fitzpatrick did not feel the win over Sniedze represented a return to form for Smith, with the trainer feeling his man had still shown plenty of good signs in the two defeats he suffered earlier in the year.

“It’s not necessarily a case of Sniper getting back to form – he has been in good form but has just lost to good men,” said Fitzpatrick.

“In the Kirk Garvey fight, he won the first four rounds and then emotionally fell apart a bit because he had dumped all his adrenaline when he dropped Garvey in the first round.

“Sniper is not known as a puncher, so to drop someone that people don’t want to fight, it caused a little bit of a rush of adrenaline and he didn’t control it well and he started to fatigue and blow out.

“And he was in excellent form in the Ultimate Boxxer, he just got hurt by a good shot and then lost a decision to the guy who ended up winning the tournament.

“You can be in a fight where everything is equal and then one guy gets hit with a good shot and loses his way. It doesn’t mean he was in bad form in that fight, he just got caught.”