By: Jason Sardelis
(February 19th) In the history of boxing there is a long list of Irish / American greats, including Mickey Walker, Gene Tunney, Jimmy McLarnin, Tommy Loughran and Billy Conn to name a few. As of recent and the retirement of John Duddy New York has several contenders in the light heavyweight division and one hot prospect is Shirley, New York’s “Irish Bomber” Joe Smith Jr.
The 24 year old Irishman coming from a impressive amateur career including two New York Gold Glove and Metro titles can be described as a boxing reincarnation combination of Philadelphia’s Jack O’Brien and “Irish” Bob Murphy.
Smith carrying a good stiff jab moves and punches with both hands staying behind a high guard solid defense like O’Brien but loves to fight packing dynamite in both hands, targeting both the head and body with a relentless unforgiving assault reminiscent of “Irish” Bob.
Last week fighting on a Dibella Entertainment Broadway boxing card closing boxing at New York’s Roseland Ballroom Smith demonstrated that along with his punching power he has the patience of a veteran, taking what he can get limiting Sacramento, California’s cagey veteran Otis “Triple G’ Griffin to six rounds of clutching and grabbing winning a one sided six round unanimous decision.
Smith’s trek to the Griffin bout started back October 2009 running off seven straight KO wins before suffering his sole defeat August 2010 a 4th round TKO loss to Eddie “Thunder” Caminero. After opening with a dominating first round and all but the last twenty seconds of the second the “Irish Bomber” took a “Thunder” combination that clearly got his attention, but did not wobble the sturdy gladiator.
Between the second and third rounds Smith showing signs of a problem with his jaw drew the attention of the ringside physician who allowed him to continue displaying more courage and heart than almost anyone not carrying an M-16. The young Irishman went on to fight and win most of the next six minutes before succumbing to the pain in a clinch from what was later that evening diagnosed as a double fractured jaw.
After emergency surgery, surgical internal fixation and an eleven month layoff, Smith eating his meals through a straw returned to action going 7-0 with five Ko’s leading up to last weeks bout.
The “Irish Bomber” under the guidance of manager Phil Capobianco and the tutelage of trainers Gerry Capobianco and Tommy Gallagher, looks to remain busy returning to action late next month.
Evaluating in the whole package measuring Smith’s aggressive style, offensive skills and tight defense parlayed with his natural punching power all the lights appear “green” this Irisman’s road to the upper echelon of the light heavyweight division even leading to possible showdown bouts with fellow Irishmen like Chicago’s Mike Lee, 11-0, 6Ko’s and Long Beach New York’s unbeaten Seanie Monaghan, 20-0, 13Ko’s.