Wray & Nephew Contender reality television finalist, 25-year-old Rikardo Smith who faces Devon Moncrieffe in the final bout, has dedicated his entire performance and his success at reaching the finals, to his sister 21-year-old Tessany Smith who is ailing with uterine cancer.
The siblings are very involved in each other’s lives. The boxer has been accompanying his sister to most of her chemotherapy sessions, sometimes the day prior to entering the Contender boxing ring, while both would show up for a fight the next day.
“Tessany has been to all of my fights, and two of my challenges. She is very supportive of me and my performance in the tournament”, Smith said.
Smith grew up in Orange Hill District of Westmoreland in a single parent home and began his formal training at age 11 at the Dreams Gate Boxing Club. He has never lost sight of his dreams and is representing the Hard Knocks Gym, in Savanna-La-Mar in the competition.
“I was in the gym training and I got a call to participate in the Wray &Nephew Contender series. Immediately I grasped the opportunity. It was my time to shine,” Smith said.
Smith scored a close but unanimous decision victory over Sakima Mullings in the second semi-final match-up. Before a packed audience, Mullings' popular bursts of energy placed Smith on the ropes, however Mullings seemed inconsistent in his combinations, and low on the stamina needed to last for the rest of each round.
“Moncreiffe is a strong opponent. I am not going to underestimate him. He is a good fighter and has made it to the finals so I just have to outdo his game plan,” Smith said.
Hence, it will be youth versus experience when Smith joins Devon Moncrieffe in the ring for the right to be named Jamaica's top first Wray & Nephew Contender when they face-off for the $1 million prize on Wednesday, April 27 at the Constant Spring Football Field.
“It is a great accomplishment for me. It’s not because I am winning now but it is a good boost for the sport. People are seeing us perform and will become more interested in the sport,” Smith continued.
Standing at six feet, with 5 wins and one loss in his career, Smith considers being named Jamaica’s first Wray & Nephew Contender a lifetime achievement that will provide a spring board for the rest of his career.
After 15 weeks of competition only one person will be the championship, and Smith said he knows it will be him. “I am looking forward to the final to prove that I am the number one contender of the championship. I am going to do what I need to do and pull off the win,” Smith said.