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.
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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.