Following his recent knockout of boxing legend BERNARD HOPKINS, Long Island fan favorite JOE SMITH JR. moved right into the mix in the light heavyweight division, boxing’s deepest and most exciting.
Working full-time as a union laborer in the New York City area, Smith (23-1-0, 19 KO’s) will take a short break from wielding the sledgehammer as he finalizes training for his upcoming 10-round showdown with fellow highly ranked contender SULLIVAN BARRERA, (19-1-0, 14 KO’s), on Saturday, July 15 from The Fabulous Forum in Los Angeles and telecast live on HBO’s Boxing After Dark (9:50 p.m. ET/PT).
Most recently a new #1 Pound-for-Pound in boxing from the light heavyweight division was heralded as ANDRE WARD defeated SERGEY KOVALEV for the second time on June 17, defending the WBA/IBF/WBO Light Heavyweight Titles. On June 3, longtime WBC Light Heavyweight Champion ADONIS STEVENSON stopped highly ranked contender ANDRZEJ FONFARA.
In addition to those two champions the division is filled with world class fighters and highly regarded contenders including ARTUR BETERBIEV, DMITRY BIVOL, OLEKSANDR GVOZDYK and ELEIDER ALVAREZ .
“It’s true the division is truly heating up and I’m honored to be a part of it,” said the 27-year-old Smith Jr. “The winner of my upcoming fight moves right into the top of the mix in the division.”
“With my last two knockouts I have the full confidence that the sky is the limit for me in this division, I want to achieve my dream of becoming a world champion.”
Smith Jr. is promoted by JOE DEGUARDIA’S STAR BOXING who has developed the heavy handed Long Island native over the last few years into a world ranked contender and holder of the WBC International Light Heavyweight Title.
“Timing is always very important when bringing along a fighter to a higher level,” said DeGuardia. “We started working together a few years ago and our plan was to continue developing Joe’s talents and present him with the right opportunities for success. This is a formula we’ve used many times in the past in building fighters the right way.”
“When the opportunity came to fight Andrzej Fonfara we believed as a team that Joe was ready and he was spectacular in the first round knockout victory. The same with fighting Bernard Hopkins, it was a great opportunity and Joe put on another star making performance.”
“With the Sullivan Barrera fight the stakes are even higher but we feel this is another great opportunity for Joe, back on HBO which has built many stars over the last forty years.”
Known as “The Common Man”, Irish-American Joe Smith Jr. burst onto the international boxing scene last June, knocking out the highly favored, former world title challenger Andrzej Fonfara in the first round of a nationally televised contest (NBC) from the Pole’s hometown of Chicago.
Six months later Smith challenged future Hall of Famer Bernard Hopkins at the Fabulous Forum and live on HBO. Dominating the legend on December 17 through the first seven rounds, the construction union laborer Smith drilled Hopkins to the canvas and out of the ring earning the knockout in the eighth round.
Sullivan Barrera is riding a two-bout knockout streak with victories over Paul Parker on April 15 and Vyacheslav Shabaranskyy on December 16, 2016. His only loss was to light heavyweight champion Andre Ward by unanimous decision in March 2016, and Barrera is considered one of the top fighters in the stacked division.
Smith vs. Barrera is presented by Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing and Main Events. This fight is part of a sensational triple header featuring Miguel Berchelt vs. Takashi Miura, a 12-round fight for the WBC Super Featherweight World Championship and the WBA Super Featherweight World Championship with Jezreel “El Invisible” Corrales defending his title against Robinson “Robin Hood” Castellanos. Berchelt-Miura is presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Zanfer Promotions and Teiken Promotions.
Tickets are priced at $25, $50, $75 and $125, not including applicable service charges and taxes, with a total ticket limit of 12 per person. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000 or the Forum Box Office (Monday through Friday 11:00 a.m. PST to 7:00 p.m. PST) at (310) 330-7300. Tickets will also be available for purchase at www.fabulousforum.com or www.ticketmaster.com.