Joe “The Beast” Smith Jr.
Maxim Vlasov for Vacant 175lb Strap!
(November 18th) The World Boxing Organization has ordered light heavyweight contenders Joe Smith Jr. and Maxim Vlasov meet for the vacant WBO World title.
The two teams have been given twenty days to reach an agreement or a purse bid will be ordered to fill the vacancy created after Canelo Alvarez who claimed the WBO strap stopping Fort Lauderdale, Florida, based Russian Sergey Kovalev last November vacated the WBO 175-pound belt just six weeks later.
Initially declaring Gilberto Ramirez would face Eleider Alvarez and Maxim Vlasov would take on Umar Salamov in semifinal bouts Shirley, Long Island, New York’s Joe “The Beast” Smith Jr. scoring a one way points win over Philly’s Jesse “Hard Work” Hart January 11th earned the spot vacated by Ramirez stopping Eleider “Storm” Alvarez, 25-2, 13Ko’s in nine rounds, August 22nd.
On the other side Samara, Russia’s Maxim Vlasov and 26 year old, fellow countryman Umar Salamov, 25-1, 19Ko’s originally scheduled to meet on October 23rd, rescheduled for November 20th in Minsk, Belarus the fight was postponed again after Salamov had tested positive for Covid-19 prompting the WBO to order Smith vs Vlasov square off for the title.
The 31year old, heavy handed boxer/puncher Smith, 26-3, 21Ko’s turning pro 2013 broke into the 175lb upper echelon June 18th, 2016 scoring a upset knockout of Ring Magazine ranked top ten Andrzej Fonfara securing a spot on every boxing pundits list blasting Philly legend and Boxing Hall of Famer Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins into retirement just six months later.
the in a losing effort following a first round knockdown of Miami based Cuban Sullivan Barrera, Smith experiencing a moment of Deja vu to his only previous loss was forced to battle the final eight rounds having suffered a severely broken jaw suffered in the second round.
Following a medically induced eleven-month hiatus “The Beast” returned to action June 30th, 2018 disposing of Kentucky’s Melvin Russell setting up a twelve round unanimous decision World Boxing Association World Light Heavy Title challenge of Saint Petersburg, Russia’s unbeaten Dmitry Bivol March 9th, 2019 setting up the Jesse Hart and subsequent Eleider Alvarez stoppage last January.
The 34-year-old Vlasov, 45-3, 26Ko’s dropping a twelve round unanimous decision to Krzysztof Glowacki in the quarterfinals of the Ali Trophy - World Boxing Super Series tournament, November 10th, 2018 now out of action for almost a year comes in on a three bout 2019 victory run recording a May 19th, fourth round TKO of Omar Garcia, a July 20th twelve round unanimous decision win over Isaac Chilemba and a ten round unanimous points win over Emmanuel Martey last November 30th.
Uncertain as to Salamov’s standing there are rumblings that he will be quickly named as the mandatory to the Vlasov / Smith winner.
With promotional and contract disputes in the rear-view mirror it was just announced Canelo will face UK’s unbeaten Callum Smith, 27-0, 19Ko’s for his World Boxing Association Super World Super Middle Title.