Smith Jr. destroys Fonfara; Lubin defeats Sandoval; Warren beats Payano

Hard punching light heavyweight Joe Smith Jr. (22-1, 17 KOs) pulled off a big upset tonight in defeating former world title challenger WBC #2, WBA #3, WBO #4 Andrzej Fonfara (28-4, 16 KOs) in halting him in round one tonight in front of his own fans at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago, Illinois.

Smith timed Fonfara with a right hand and put him down hard. When he got back up, Smith finished him off with a series of hard right hands to that head. The referee stopped it at 2:32 of the round. Fonfara never even had a chance to get warmed up properly. It was over that quickly.

In hindsight, Fonfara should have held Smith after the first knockdown in the round, because he was so hurt. Instead of holding, Fonfara chose to cover up against the ropes. Smith was quickly all over Fonfara in hitting him with big shots. A left hook from Smith hurt Fonfara and had him retreating backwards to the corner. Smith then landed two more rights to put Fonfara down for the second and final time in the fight.

The loss for Fonfara ruins his rematch hopes against WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson. Fonfara had said this week that he would be facing Stevenson in December if he got past Smith.

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“There’s no feeling like this. I’m happy to take this victory back home to New York to all my fans,” said Smith as quoted by Fightnews.com.” I’ll talk to my promoter but I’m hoping for another big fight to get myself to a world title. Now everybody knows who I am. This is the best thing that could have happened. Once I started hitting him and pushing him back he fell away and left himself open for the right hand. I thought this would be more of a fight, but I took him out early and it feels great. He was punching and I knew he leaves himself open. I was just looking for the punch and it landed.”

Smith looked good, but he had a guy that left himself wide open to make him look good. I don’t see Smith beating the high caliber contenders like Artur Beterbiev, Andre Ward and Eleider Alvarez. Those guys don’t start slowly like Fonfara, and they’re not about to leave themselves wide open to right hands from Smith.

#12 WBA Rau’shee Warren (22-1, 4 KOs) landed the cleaner shots in defeating WBA bantamweight champion Juan Carlos Payano (17-1, 8 KOs) by a 12 round majority decision. Warren, 29, landed a lot of shots in each round. Warren was able to start quickly in each round to land nice shots in the opening seconds.

Payano would then come on and outwork Warren. Each round was essentially the same. Warren faded in the second half of the contest in getting outworked in rounds seven trough ten. However, Warren came back strong to take rounds 11 and 12 with his sharp punching.

The judges scored the fight 115-113, 115 for Warren, and 114-114.

“This feels great. It’s unbelievable. Payano came to put on a great fight but I came out victorious,” said Warren via Fightnes.com. “It was a good fight. If he wants the rematch, we can do it again. I was comfortable that I had won the decision. He came to fight and he stayed active. My corner just told me I had to answer back. We wanted to make him miss and make him pay. I definitely made him miss a lot. He was just staying busy. I want Warren-Payano 3 in Cincinnati. If not I’ll go after all the other champions.”

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Unbeaten 154lb contender Erickson Lubin (15-0, 11 KOs) defeated Daniel Sandoval (38-4, 34 KOs) in the third round. Sandoval was hurt by a right hand from Lubin in the third. Lubin then flurried on Sandoval until the referee and stopped the fight. The out was stopped at 2:36 of the round.
Lubin looked good at throwing to the body. His hand speed wasn’t great, but he showed good punching power.

Other boxing results on the card:

Maciej Sulecki TKO 10 Hugo Centeno Jr