It's an unusual sight: New Zealand's world champion boxer Daniella Smith frantically applying make-up in the mirror before having her photo taken.

Still sporting the battle scars from last weekend's win in Berlin, when she picked up the vacant welterweight title, Smith has gone through plenty of make-up this week.

The 38-year-old claimed the title with a unanimous points decision in her 10-round victory against Jennifer Retzke, handing her 25-year-old German opponent her first defeat in 11 professional fights.

While it was a necessity this week, Smith insists she does like to glam it up on occasion. "I wore a dress and had my hair done for our Christmas party last year and nobody recognised me - it was ridiculous," she said. "They gave me a standing ovation."

But there is no doubt Smith feels most comfortable in the ring.

After taking up the sport 12 years ago as a way to keep fit, the mother of two soon became addicted, winning her first amateur fight the following year and going on to win countless national titles.

Smith turned to the professional ranks in 2005, making her debut on the undercard of David Tua's comeback fight.

Over the past five years she has had 11 pro fights, with her only loss coming in 2007 to five-times world champion Layla McCarter of the US.

It's been a pretty exciting week for you - what was it like coming home as a world champion?

It's all been very overwhelming. Being a world champion is pretty mind-blowing. I think I'm still trying to come to grips with the reality of what's just happened. When I was in Germany I was there all on my own, so to come home and everyone is freaking out, it's like "wow".

You were in Germany by yourself?

Oh no, I had my father [George] there as well. He was my chaperone-slash-coach-slash-manager sort of thing. So that was pretty cool.

It must have been a pretty special thing to share with your Dad ...

He was very excited - I've never seen my Dad look so happy.

You looked pretty emotional on the telly when you were coming through the airport arrivals lounge to such a huge reception - what was going through your mind when you came through those doors?

I'm quite emotional anyway when I go away from New Zealand for any length of time. I love home. But coming home and seeing my friends and family and those closest to me welcome me home like that was just amazing.

Obviously you went to Germany with the goal of winning and becoming world champion, but were you prepared for the reaction afterwards?

Yeah, I certainly went there to win, and was really confident that I was going to win, but you don't think about what's going to happen when you do win, you don't look beyond that, because the focus is there on winning, so you're not really prepared for what happens afterwards. It's been crazy, I'm still sort of getting my head around it all.

What do you remember of the actual fight itself?

It's quite clear what happened in the fight. I don't remember every single bit of it, but if there's one fight in my life that I'm going to remember for the rest of my life, it'll be this one. I remember being in there and just wanting to hit her. And it was probably the least clinical display I've ever boxed. But I knew for me to win I had to convince the judges that I was the better boxer, and I also went with the intention that I had to knock her out. I had to drop her. I had to really hurt her to win, because it's really hard to win in a foreign country.

You're known as a pretty tough trainer - does winning that belt make it all worth it?

That's all I know. The longer I've boxed, the harder I've trained. If you're going to fight for 10 rounds you have to be fit and, at the end of the fight, you don't want that feeling of "oh I could have won if I was fit" or "I could have won if I'd done this". You go out and eliminate all those possibilities and do your homework.

So why boxing? What was the appeal of the sport for you?

I've been boxing for 12 years now and I started just for fitness. It wasn't the trendy thing to do 12 years ago, in fact, walking in to a boxing gym as a female you were looked at like you were a bit odd. But it was really hard and I really liked it and it really challenged me.

What do you do for a day job?

Currently I'm co-manager at Boxing Alley. We do personal training and corporate boxing fitness sessions.

What do you love about boxing?

I love that it pushes you physically and psychologically to a place that I just can't explain. It has made me stronger in life also. And it's fun punching people in the head - legally.

When you first started out did you see the potential to be world champion?

My goals with boxing were stepping-stones. It was about me having my first spar and then my first fight and then winning my first national title. And as time progressed and I turned professional, certainly a world title was what I wanted to achieve.

You've lost only one professional fight - does that still irk you?

I have to say that was the best boxing lesson of my life. I thought she beat me quite convincingly - she was a five-time world champion, extremely skilled. I actually was going to retire at that point. I thought "yep, my last fight will be with world champion Layla McCarter" and after losing I thought "I can't retire, she was that much better than me and there's so much room for improvement". So it actually convinced me to stay with boxing. Because you don't know what good is until you fight the best.

Now you've got that world title is retirement on the cards any time soon?

Oh, I'm not retiring. I actually believe I'm at my physical peak right now, and probably the mentally toughest I've ever been.

So, when's the next fight?

It is definitely early next year, and it will be a defence of my world title. Hopefully it'll be in here in New Zealand, but there are so many factors we need to consider. I haven't sat down and discussed it with Monty in any detail just yet. He's sort of just letting me enjoy my win for now.