WBO light heavyweight champion Joe Smith Jr. (28-3, 22 KOs) successfully retained his title in his maiden defense with an ninth round knockout victory over replacement opponent Steve Geffrard (18-3, 12 KOs) on Saturday night at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, New York.
Geffrard, 31, chose to cover up like a sparring partner, which worked initially, but ultimately he took much punishment from the heavy-handed Smith. In the ninth, flattened Geffrard, and the fight was then halted at :37 of the round.
- In the co-feature bout. unbeaten featherweight contender Abraham Nova (21-0, 15 KOs0 beat William Encarnacion (19-2, 15 KOs) by an eighth round knockout. The fight was halted during the eighth round by Encarnacion’s corner. The time of the stoppage was at :55 of the eighth.
- Light welterweight prospect Omar Rosario (6-0, 2 KOs) beat Raekwon Butler (4-2, 2 KOs) by a six round unanimous decision. The judges’ scores were 58-55, 59-54, and 59-54. Rosario dominated most of the action, but he let Butler hang around by being lazy, and failing to press when he should have. All in all, it was a good performance from the 140-pounder Rosario, but he’s got a long way to go before he’ll be ready to mix it with the elite-level light welterweights.
- Welterweight prospect Jahi Tucker (6-0,4 KOs) defeated Akeem Black (6-5, 2 KOs) by a second round knockout. The time of the stoppage was at 1:18 of the second round. Tucker dropped Black in the first round.
- Middleweight prospect Troy Disney (4-0, 2 KOs) beat Harry Keenan Cruz Cubano (6-3, 2 KOs) by a six round unanimous decision. The judges’ scores were 59-53, 59-54, and 59-54. It was an excellent victory for the 2020 U.S Olympian Disney.
- Cruiserweight Lyubomyr Pinchuk (14-2-1, 8 KOs) beat Jose Mario Flores (8-3-2, 4 KOs) by an eight round unanimous decision. The scores were 80-72, 79-73, and 79-73. Pinchuck suffered a cut left eye from a clash of heads in the first round. In round five, Flores was hurt by a big shot from Pinchuck, and he had to dig deep to survive.
The blue-collar WBO 175lb champion Smith Jr. will be making his first defense of his recently won title against an opponent that has been brought in on a little over a week’s notice after his previously scheduled challenger fringe contender Callum Johnson came up positive for COVID.
Smith, 32, needs to not only win tonight but also to shine for him to keep his chances alive for a fight against Canelo Alvarez or a unification match against IBF/WBC 175-lb champion Artur Beterbiev.
Smith-Geffrard will be shown LIVE on ESPN & ESPN+ beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET.7:00 p.m. PT.
In the chief support about, 126-lb contender Abraham Nova battles William Encarnacion
When does Joe Smith Jr. vs. Steve Geffrard tonight?
Smith vs. Geffrard will be taking place tonight on Saturday, January 15 at 10:00 p.m. ET /7:00 p.m. PT.
The card is kind of barren of compelling fights, but the main event should be interesting unless Geffrard folds quickly, which is entirely possible.
Smith recently won the vacant WBO light heavyweight title with a 12 round majority decision win over Maxim Vlasov in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
A lot of boxing fans felt that Vlasov had done enough to get the win, but it’s not all that surprising that he lost the fight. Smith is American, the fight took place in the U.S, and Vlasov came all the way from Russia.
How to watch Joe Smith Jr. vs. Steve Geffrard on what channel
Smith-Geffrard will be shown LIV on ESPN, ESPN+ in the U.S, and on
Sky Sports in the UK. For boxing fans that wish to see the fight on ESPN+, they’ll need to subscribe to the app.
Where is Smith vs. Geffrard fight located?
Tonight’s fight between WBO light heavyweight champion Joe Smith Jr. and challenger Steve Geffrard is taking place at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, New York.
Joe Smith Jr. vs. Steve Geffrard full undercard
- Abraham Nova vs. William Encarnacion
- Troy Isley vs. Harry Keenan Cruz Cubano
- Jahi Tucker vs. Akeem Black
“I just felt excited. It dropped out of the sky and I’m ready to take full advantage of this opportunity and showcase my skills to the world,” said Steve Geffrard to Secondsout about him getting the fight against Joe Smith Jr. as a replacement.
“A lot of these guys don’t know about me. He’s going to find out when the bell rings on Saturday night,” Geffrard on Smith Jr. not being familiar with him. So that’s also good, but I definitely think I have way better skills than Joe Smith and I’m going to display them tomorrow.
“I’ve seen him fight many times, but he’s never really seen me fight,” said Geffrard. “I’ve had an extensive amateur background, and I’ve been in many camps with some of the best guys that have been in the last decade that have been world champions in my division.
“So, I think I’m ready for this and I was born ready for this and I’m excited to show the world who I am,” said Geffrard.
“There’s a lot of disadvantages,” said Joe Smith’s promoter Joe DeGuardia to Secondsout on the negatives in facing a substitute opponent like Geffrard on short notice.
“Number one, like you mentioned, Andy Ruiz [brought in as a replacement to face Anthony Joshua in June 2019]. Manny Pacquiao, he was a fill-in, and all of a sudden he was Manny Pacquiao.
“And by the way, his career went the opposite way with a late-minute replacement [Yordenis Ugas last August].
“It’s difficult, You’re training for a different kind of guy, you’re getting your mindset for somebody else, and then all of a sudden you’re fighting a whole different type of style, a whole different type of person.
“It’s difficult from a mental standpoint and a physical standpoint. It’s very, very difficult and a lot of disadvantages, a lot of things to be concerned about, especially when you don’t know much about that particular fighter and your training for something else.
“Joe [Smith Jr.] has a big mountain to climb in my view because of the new style, new fighter. In Steve, you’ve got a young, hungry, I think young in the game, fresh, who is a top, top amateur and he’s got a lot of experience, experience in the ring, and things like that.
“Those are the disadvantages. The advantage? I give you one glaring massive advantage and that is you get to get in that ring. For Joe, he wants to be in that ring and it didn’t matter who it was going to be. Frankly, that’s his advantage.
“He’s fighting defending his title, which is what his real desire has been. Callum is out there as a potential opponent down the line, but Joe is looking for the biggest fights. He really wants [Artur] Beterbiev.
“That’s the fight that he really wants,” said DiGuardia about Joe Smith wanting to face IBF/WBC light heavyweight champion Beterbiev (17-0, 17 KOs) in a three-belt unification fight.
“Everyone wants Canelo [Alvarez] obviously. Who couldn’t? Yeah, I want him too. I might have to lose a couple more pounds. So, Canelo is the big sweepstakes, everyone wants that. But barring Canelo, Beterbiev, he’s the boogeyman, and Joe wants to fight that kind of fight, and that’s a great fight stylistically.
“I love the fight for Joe. Truthfully, I’m more comfortable making that fight [Smith vs. Beterbiev] than I am tomorrow night with a guy [Geffrard], who is going to be coming in there with nothing to lose. He’s really coming in there with nothing to lose.
“But the Beterbiev fight, that’s the fight that we would be looking for. I love the style,” said DiGuardia when asked why he believes Beterbiev is someone that Joe Smith can beat. “I think that Beterbiev, it takes him some rounds to warm up, and Joe, he starts quick and Joe’s a big banger.
“He gets hit, Beterbiev, and if he gets hit by Joe with the shots he has been hit with, I don’t see him getting up. I’ve seen him [Beterbiev] down in the Callum [Johnson] fight. I think if Joe tags him, he’s going to be out.
“I think also the flip side is, he’s [Beterbiev] a great fighter, and he’s got tremendous skill. And because of his skill, reputation, and his knockouts, every fight is a knockout win, you’re beating someone that the world looks at as being a killer. Those are the fights you want.
“You want to be able to fight those fights where nobody expects you to win. So, that’s why I like the Beterbiev fight. We’re working regularly, It’s been tough but we’re still operating. We’re fortunate that we have the Paramount series, and we do regular shows there.
“We did two in the fall. The next one down there is on March 19th at the Paramount. We have February 26th, a new series we’re starting at St. John’s University,” said DiGuardia.
Joe Smith Jr. (27-3, 21 KOs) has a potentially tough title defense tonight against substitute Steve Geffrard (18-2, 12 KOs) at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York.