‘I’m Coming For That 50 Bags’ – Jacob Smith Eager To Capitalize On Huge Opportunity Against Walter Goncalves
Jacob Smith earned legions of new fans in his courageous promotional debut against ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion Rodtang “The Iron Man” Jitmuangnon, but he’s had a frustrating time ever since.
Injuries have kept the English striker out of action, but he’s now raring to go against #2-ranked flyweight Muay Thai contender Walter “Iron Hands” Goncalves at ONE Fight Night 17 on Prime Video in U.S. primetime on Friday, December 8.
It’s taken all of Smith’s determination to get ready again, and although he never stepped away from “the art of eight limbs,” he can’t wait to do what he loves at the iconic Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.
The Birkenhead native spoke to onefc.com about his extended layoff:
“I’ve had a nightmare of a year, to be honest with you. Just injury after injury, one little thing after another, so it’s good to be back.
“The way I am, no matter what, I’ve got to stay active. I’ve got to train. I was still kicking every single day when I couldn’t punch.
“Thai boxing is my life, so even though I haven’t been able to fight, I’ve got my own gym, and I’ve been putting more hours in there and concentrating on coaching my own fighters.”
After meeting the dominant Rodtang in a non-World Title matchup, Smith had to withdraw from his scheduled return against Denis Puric earlier this year due to his injury troubles.
However, he can make up for lost time against Goncalves, and he’s doing everything he can to make the most of this huge opportunity.
The 31-year-old explained:
“I’ve got a lot of respect for Walter. He’s a great fighter. There’s no denying that. I’m training for him like I was training for Rodtang, like I would be training if I was to fight Superlek [Kiatmoo9].
“And I’m going to carry on training like that because, at the end of the day, it’s a career-turning fight for me. He’s number-two ranked, so he’s right up there.”
Smith Plans To Employ Smart Game Plan Against Goncalves
Jacob Smith’s intensity, aggression, and fearlessness were on display against Rodtang, but after charging straight toward the Thai superstar, he’s putting together a different strategy for Walter Goncalves.
With the Brazilian presenting a very different stylistic matchup, Smith knows that approach would not be his best route to victory.
The Bad Company and Thaifist representative certainly respects his opponent’s skills, and to overcome them, he wants to fight more with his head than his heart:
“I think against Walter, there’s no point in chasing him around and walking forward at him in a straight line just looking to take his head off because his movement’s really good and he’s super fast. I think for probably the first round and a half, he’s super dangerous as well. He carries a lot more power than people give him respect for.
“I’ve had a good watch of him over the past few weeks, and there’s just some little things, I wouldn’t say holes, but there’s some little parts of his game which I think I can exploit.
“Without giving too much away, basics win me this fight. It’s about not getting drawn into his game and fighting on my terms.”
Despite his admiration for Goncalves, the man from England isn’t planning to give him an inch when they come to blows at ONE Fight Night 17.
He knows that getting his first promotional victory is crucial, and he’s aiming to deliver a career-best performance to earn a life-changing bonus from ONE Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong.
Feeling powerful and more motivated than ever, Smith added:
“Let me just tell you something: I respect Walter 100 percent. I think he’s a great fighter. I think it’s a hard fight, but I’m coming for that 50 bags. Simple as that.
“I think I’m physically stronger, I’m probably the bigger man in general, and I punch and kick harder than him.”