Joe “The Beast” Smith Jr. and Maxim Vlasov are headed to the Sooner State to struggle for the vacant WBO mild heavyweight world title Saturday, April 10 at Osage On line casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
They had been initially scheduled to struggle Feb. 13, however Vlasov examined constructive for COVID-19 previous to the weigh-in, forcing a postponement.
Within the 10-round co-feature, unbeaten heavyweight contender Efe Ajagba will tackle Brian “MVP” Howard.
Promoted by Prime Rank, in affiliation with Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing and Tony Holden Productions, Smith-Vlasov and Ajagba-Howard shall be broadcast reside on ESPN and ESPN Deportes (simulcast on ESPN+) at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. Undercard bouts will stream reside and completely on ESPN+ at 5:30p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. PT, together with a trio of big-punching heavyweights: Jared “The Actual Huge Child” Anderson and Tulsa natives Trey Lippe Morrison (16-0, 16 KOs) and Jeremiah Milton (2-0, 2 KOs).
Ticket info for this world championship occasion shall be introduced shortly.
“Joe Smith Jr. deserves this chance, and I do know Maxim Vlasov will give him an excellent problem,” mentioned Prime Rank chairman Bob Arum. “The sunshine heavyweight division is among the hottest in boxing, and the winner may have no scarcity of profitable alternatives.”
𝙋𝙤𝙬𝙚𝙧. 𝙋𝙧𝙚𝙨𝙨𝙪𝙧𝙚. 𝘼𝙜𝙜𝙧𝙚𝙨𝙨𝙞𝙤𝙣.
— Prime Rank Boxing (@trboxing) March 15, 2021
Smith (26-3, 21 KOs), the “Widespread Man” from Lengthy Island, hopes his 2021 kicks off the place 2020 concluded. Final August, he broke by contained in the MGM Grand Las Vegas Bubble, knocking former world champion Eleider “Storm” Alvarez out and thru the ropes. Smith has gained three straight bouts since his first world title alternative in March 2019, a unanimous choice loss to Dmitry Bivol. He turned a family identify in boxing in 2016 when he knocked dwelling legend Bernard Hopkins by the ropes and into retirement.
“I’m extraordinarily motivated in spite of everything 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 dwelling on April 10 and transfer ahead with my objective 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 onerous to get Smith and Vlasov again within the ring as quickly as attainable, not only for the followers that love to look at the ‘Widespread Man’ struggle, however for Joe, who could be very anxious to change into world champion. The blue-collar banger that’s Joe Smith Jr. shall be able to struggle 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 turned a prime 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 choice over Isaac Chilemba, and shutting out the 15-0 Emmanuel Martey over 10 rounds.
“I’m able to return to the ring and change into the brand new WBO mild heavyweight world champion,” Vlasov mentioned. “The postponement was a minor setback, however will probably be definitely worth the wait when I’ve that belt round my waist.”
Ajagba (14-0, 11 KOs), a 2016 Nigerian Olympian, is certainly one 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 Prime Rank debut final September and outlasted veteran Jonathan Rice by way of choice 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.