Joe Smith Jr. & Maxim Vlasov
Ready For Saturday Showdown
Joe Smith Jr., the small business owner and former union
construction worker from Long Island, just wants to fight.
Smith, who operates Team Smith Tree Service with his father,
hopes to chop down Maxim Vlasov and win the vacant WBO light
heavyweight world title Saturday evening at Osage Casino in
Tulsa, Oklahoma (ESPN, ESPN Deportes & ESPN, 10 p.m. ET).
Smith and Vlasov were scheduled for a pre-fight press
conference once before, Feb. 11 in Las Vegas. Vlasov tested
positive for COVID-19 that day, and their scheduled Feb. 13
fight was temporarily derailed. Vlasov recovered, went home
to Russia, and then finished training camp in Las Vegas.
Smith got married, but he delayed his honeymoon to focus on
the task at hand. Instead of the bright lights of Las Vegas,
they will do battle in the Sooner State in front of a
Before fight night, this is what both fighters had to say.
Joe Smith Jr.
"I was 100 percent ready to go back in February, but it's
OK. I had time to enjoy my wedding day and now I'm just
ready to go once again."
"I know what I'm going up against. He is a busy and
aggressive guy with a lot of experience, but I have prepared
well and I'm going to give 100 percent of myself to come out
"Becoming world champion and hearing the words, 'and new!'
it's going to be an amazing feeling. This is everything I
have been working for since I was 15 years old."
"I’m sure that you will see no ring rust at all this time.
I’ve been preparing well. I’ve been sharpening my skills,
and I’m ready to give it my all, 100 percent.”
“I feel the same as a younger boxer who is less experienced
because this is a great chance for me. This is a great
responsibility, a great risk. I am very excited and
motivated for this fight.”
“I have taken preparation seriously, watched many of his
fights, and learned some things. I don’t like to talk about
his weakest or strongest points or divulge any strategies or
plans related to the fight.”