Joe “The Beast” Smith Jr. and Maxim Vlasov are headed to the Sooner State to combat for the vacant WBO mild heavyweight world title Saturday, April 10 at Osage On line casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
They have been initially scheduled to combat Feb. 13, however Vlasov examined optimistic for COVID-19 previous to the weigh-in, forcing a postponement.
If at first, you may’t combat, strive once more.
Within the 10-round co-feature, unbeaten heavyweight contender Efe Ajagba will tackle Brian “MVP” Howard.
Promoted by High Rank, in affiliation with Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing and Tony Holden Productions, Smith-Vlasov and Ajagba-Howard can be broadcast stay on ESPN and ESPN Deportes (simulcast on ESPN+) at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. Undercard bouts will stream stay and solely on ESPN+ at 5:30p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. PT, together with a trio of big-punching heavyweights: Jared “The Actual Large Child” Anderson and Tulsa natives Trey Lippe Morrison (16-0, 16 KOs) and Jeremiah Milton (2-0, 2 KOs).
Ticket data for this world championship occasion can be introduced shortly.
“Joe Smith Jr. deserves this chance, and I do know Maxim Vlasov will give him an important problem,” mentioned High Rank chairman Bob Arum. “The sunshine heavyweight division is likely one of the hottest in boxing, and the winner may have no scarcity of profitable alternatives.”
Smith (26-3, 21 KOs), the “Frequent Man” from Lengthy Island, hopes his 2021 kicks off the place 2020 concluded. Final August, he broke by way of contained in the MGM Grand Las Vegas Bubble, knocking former world champion Eleider “Storm” Alvarez out and thru the ropes. Smith has received three straight bouts since his first world title alternative in March 2019, a unanimous resolution loss to Dmitry Bivol. He grew to become a family identify in boxing in 2016 when he knocked dwelling legend Bernard Hopkins by way of the ropes and into retirement.
“I’m extraordinarily motivated in any case I’ve been although in my profession,” Smith mentioned. “I’m happy with all I’ve achieved, and I’m assured I’ll convey the belt residence on April 10 and transfer ahead with my purpose of unifying belts and proving I’m one of the best mild heavyweight on this planet.”
Mentioned Joe DeGuardia, CEO of Star Boxing, “All of us labored very arduous to get Smith and Vlasov again within the ring as quickly as doable, not only for the followers that love to observe the ‘Frequent Man’ combat, however for Joe, who could be very anxious to develop into world champion. The blue-collar banger that’s Joe Smith Jr. can be able to combat and thrill the followers. He’s laser-focused and totally intends on bringing the WBO world title to Lengthy Island on April 10.”
Vlasov (45-3, 26 KOs), from Samara, Russia, is 3-0 at mild heavyweight since transferring down from cruiserweight, the place he grew to become a high contender and challenged for an interim world title. He had a banner 2019 at mild heavyweight, knocking out the 14-1 Omar Garcia, avenging a earlier defeat with a unanimous resolution over Isaac Chilemba, and shutting out the 15-0 Emmanuel Martey over 10 rounds.
“I’m able to return to the ring and develop into the brand new WBO mild heavyweight world champion,” Vlasov mentioned. “The postponement was a minor setback, however it is going to be well worth the wait when I’ve that belt round my waist.”
Ajagba (14-0, 11 KOs), a 2016 Nigerian Olympian, is one in every of world boxing’s most achieved younger heavyweights. At 26 years outdated, he’s already knocked out the likes of longtime contender Amir Mansour and former world title challenger Razvan Cojanu.
He made his High Rank debut final September and outlasted veteran Jonathan Rice by way of resolution over 10 rounds. Howard (15-4, 12 KOs) is an 11-year professional who has cut up a pair of bouts since transferring as much as heavyweight. In August 2019, he knocked out 2008 Puerto Rican Olympian Carlos Negron within the first spherical.