The media gathered on Wednesday afternoon at the Dream Hotel days before undefeated WBA World Light Heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol makes his fifth title defense against Joe Smith Jr. at Turning Stone Resort and Casino on March 9. WBO Super Lightweight titlist Maurice Hooker will also be defending his belt against undefeated challenger Mikkel LesPierre, and Callum Johnson will be taking on Sean Monaghan. In a press conference the fighters discussed their preparations and predications before the fight, which will be broadcasted live on DAZN.
“I don’t want to talk too much because I don’t have many jokes. I’m ready to fight. I hope that Joe is ready too and we can make a great fight and don’t miss our fight.”
Joe Smith Jr.
“I’d like to thank Bivol for offering me this opportunity. I put everything I had into this training camp. I worked real hard. I look forward to this Saturday to put on a great show for everyone. This is what every fighter dreams of, having a shot at the world title. This is my shot, and the work has put in over the years and I’m going show that this Saturday.”
“I’m in shape, I know you’re in shape, and I’m looking for the knockout. I’m going to show why I’m the WBO champion. I want to thank everybody. I took the hard way, I’m not giving up yet.”
“There’s not much for me to say, I’m ready for this fight. Let’s go to work. I’m not much of a talker, I like all my actions to show and prove. I’m ready, I’ll see you Saturday night.”
Joseph Markowski, DAZN Executive Vice President, North America
“As we stand here today, DAZN has the best schedule in boxing – only six months since our launch. And March 9 in Turning Stone kicks off that stretch.
“Interestingly, the man who’ll kick start this run for DAZN is the same man to headline HBO’s final World Championship Boxing – light heavyweight champ Dmitry Bivol. And in Joe Smith Jr. he is in against a man with heavy hands and a penchant for upsets. It should be a cracker.
“On St. Patrick’s Day Weekend, we’ll see Tevin Farmer and Katie Taylor defending their titles in Philadelphia. Late this spring, we’ll also see the returns of Regis Prograis and Ryan Garcia. Just this week, we announced the rematch between pound-for-pound star Srisaket Sor Rungvisai vs. Juan Francisco Estrada in late April. Then, of course, the blockbuster events featuring Canelo vs. Jacobs and Anthony Joshua’s U.S. debut against “Big Baby” Miller at Madison Square Garden.
“And we’re not stopping there. We’re moving closer to finalizing three more fight nights in this time frame that will perfectly illustrate the value of being a DAZN subscriber. It’s an exciting time for boxing and we’re proud to be at the very heart of it.”
Eddie Hearn, Matchroom Boxing Managing Director
“We have massive show on Saturday on Turning Stone, double world championship header, two very important fights on the card. We have had a great few days, week traveling around with Daniel Jacobs coming up on DAZN on May 4. The schedule that’s up over there, and going up on social as well is unquestionably the best schedule in boxing right now on DAZN.”
Joe Smith Jr says he will pour his heart and soul into his World title challenge against WBA World Light-Heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol on Saturday March 9 at Turning Stone Resort Casino, Verona, NY, live on DAZN in the US and Sky Sports in the UK.
Smith Jr (24-2 20KOs) fights for a first time for the World title and will be full of confidence going into the bout, with his last four wins coming by impressive KO’s, including a first round demolition of Poland’s Andrzej Fonfara in Chicago and sending modern-great Bernard Hopkins into retirement.
Bivol (15-0 11 KOs) defends his title for the fifth time against the Long Island man and is hoping Smith Jr comes for a war – and the 29 year old challenger promises to bring everything he’s got to a night he’s been waiting for his entire life.
“Winning a World title would mean everything to me,” said Smith Jr. “It’s everything I have worked towards my whole life. I cannot even express how I will feel when I win this title.
“Training camp has been great. We’ve worked on a lot of new things and I’ve pushed myself to the limit every day. Also, I had some great sparring partners to help me prepare for this fight.
“Dmitry is a great fighter, very busy and active. My plan is to stay just as active and be busier than him, to outwork him. I plan to punch when he punches and make it a great fight.
“The fans are in for a great show on Saturday. They will see a new and improved Joe Smith Jr., the new Light-Heavyweight champion of the world.
“I would like to thank Joe DeGuardia, Star Boxing, DAZN and Matchroom for this opportunity. I am looking forward to raising that belt, and finally reaching my dream of becoming a World champion.”
Smith Jr’s clash with Bivol is part of a huge night of action at Turning Stone Resort Casino with a second mouthwatering World title fight on the bill in the shape of Maurice Hooker (25-0-3 17 KOs) defending his WBO World Super-Lightweight title against Brooklyn’s Mikkel LesPierre (21-0-1 10KOs).
Callum Johnson (17-1-0 12KOs) and Sean Monaghan (29-2-0 17KOs) will both have a keen eye on the Bivol-Smith Jr. clash as they battle in a crunch fight in the 175lbs division, World-ranked heavyweight contender Sergey Kuzmin, (14-0 11 KOs), of St. Petersburg, Russia will battle Philadelphia based veteran Joey Dawejko, (19-6-4 11 KOs) and Otha Jones III makes his pro debut on the card.