A single father to two daughters, O’Maison and his fellow Sheffield super lightweight are the headline attractions on a stacked card at the city’s Utilita Arena.
Although Smith is the bookmakers’ favorite after winning all of his 11 professional outings so far, one-time English champion O’Maison is convinced he can upset the odds and open up doors which have been closed to him in the past.
“I’m excited to have the chance to take the title home, go into the history books and also do something really good away from the sport too,” he said. “Financially, I’m a single dad with two little girls and so the money would definitely help. It would help me get financial security for us all.”
O’Maison’s relatives and his ex-partner have been helping take care of Harpreea, aged five, and 16 month old Ariah during the build-up to a contest many within the business believe is more delicately poised than most armchair fans would think.
“The media stuff stretches far and I know the general public think it’s going to be all about Dalton, because he’s got the big build up behind him,” O’Maison continued, referring to Smith’s relationship with the Matchroom organization. “But I’m genuinely a fan of my own fight because I know what he brings, I know what I bring and I know that people in boxing circles think this is going to be interesting. I do feel that I’m going to be a big banana skiing for him and, if I wasn’t involved in this, I’d definitely be watching it.”
Trained by Ryan Rhodes, O’Maison enters the bout with a record of 17-3-1 and feels that linking-up with the former middleweight and super welterweight world title challenger has unlocked his potential.
“At the start of my career, I couldn’t try and knock everyone out because I had to pick fights carefully, be clever and make sure I could keep them ticking over,” O’Maison said. “Since I’ve been with Ryan, after being cute at the beginning, I’ve been turning most of them over. I’ve loved camp and I actually told him the other day, I actually don’t want it to end.
“Being here, close to my daughters, that gives me extra confidence and buzz. I know some fighters like to go away on camps, but that’s not me. It’s much better for me to be here and with them.”
Unlike Smith, O’Maison has fought at this venue before – appearing on the same bill as Anthony Joshua when Kell Brook faced Vyacheslav Senchenko in 2013.
“I’ve had a picture of the British title on my phone for a while now,” he added. “I keep taking a look at it every now and then, so that really keeps me ticking over. It will be a surreal experience to win this and I can’t wait to get in there.
“My daughters, the eldest is really keen to come but I’m not going to let them. I don’t want to overwhelm them at such a big event. They can watch it on YouTube when they get older.”