Joe Smith Jr vs Maxim Vlasov – Large Battle Preview & Predictions

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Joe Smith Jr faces Maxim Vlasov for the vacant WBO Light Heavyweight title on Saturday night
Joe Smith Jr faces Maxim Vlasov for the vacant WBO Gentle Heavyweight title on Saturday night time

New York hardman, Joe Smith Jr will get a second crack at world honours, and he faces Russia’s Maxim Vlasov, with the vacant WBO Gentle Heavyweight title the prize for the winner on the Osage On line casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma this Saturday night time.

Smith Jr (26-3, 21 KOs) and Vlasov (45-3, 26 KOs) had been scheduled to conflict again in February, however the latter examined optimistic for COVID-19 with the competition simply days away.

The belt was vacated by Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez after his win over Sergey Kovalev, however the Russian noticed his likelihood to regain the title go up in smoke with a failed drug take a look at scuppering his return in January.

Smith first got here to prominence in 2016, wiping out Andrzej Fonfara in a spherical. That win arrange a gathering with the legendary Bernard Hopkins, and the 31-year-old lastly ended the American’s lengthy profession with an eighth spherical victory.

He couldn’t construct on that progress although, and Sullivan Barrera got here off the canvas to document a cushty July 2017 factors win. Two fights later got here a shot at Dmitry Bivol’s WBA belt, however Smith was soundly overwhelmed on the playing cards.

2020 noticed two wins on the bounce, firstly a break up choice ten spherical win in opposition to Jesse Hart, after which a surprising ninth spherical stoppage of former WBO king, Eleider Alvarez in his final outing in August 2020.

Joe Smith Jr sent Eleider Alvarez crashing through the ropes in August Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank
Joe Smith Jr despatched Eleider Alvarez crashing by means of the ropes in August Picture Credit score: Mikey Williams/Prime Rank

Vlasov, 34, has primarily campaigned between Gentle Heavyweight and Cruiserweight, and he has solely misplaced in good firm.

A factors defeat to Isaac Chilemba in 2011 was his first reverse, and he didn’t lose once more for almost 4 years, dropping a ten spherical choice to Gilberto Ramirez in January 2015. A dozen low key wins adopted to earn a crack on the interim WBO Cruiserweight title.

 

Krzysztof Glowacki proved an excessive amount of for the Samara native, and the Pole took a deserved factors win. Three straight wins have adopted, together with a revenge factors win over Chilemba in July 2019, and his final contest was in November of the identical yr. He received each spherical of ten in opposition to the beforehand unbeaten Emmanuel Martey in Russia.

Prediction: Smith might be hungry to lastly realise his potential, and Vlasov ought to symbolize an ideal alternative to try this. It must be a aggressive affair, however Smith hits arduous, and he can pound out a deserved factors win to take the title.

Ajagba returns

Heavyweight prospect, Efe Ajagba sees motion on the invoice over ten rounds. The Texas-based Nigerian has accomplished all that has been requested of him in his skilled profession to date, however will look to step up at school in 2021.

His opponent this weekend although can’t be classed within the step up bracket. Georgia’s Brian Howard is the person within the reverse nook, and the 40-year-old has been stopped in three of his 4 defeats.

Efe Ajagba overcame Jonathan Rice in September to remain undefeated Photo Credit: Mikey Williams / Top Rank
Efe Ajagba overcame Jonathan Rice in September to stay undefeated Picture Credit score: Mikey Williams / Prime Rank

Ajagba (14-0, 11 KOs) was final out in September 2020, outpointing Jonathan Rice over ten, whereas Howard (15-4, 12 KOs) was knocked out in 4 by Frank Sanchez in November 2020 in his final project.

Prediction: Ajagba ought to repeat that feat right here, and halt Howard within the first half of the bout.

The cardboard options three additional Heavyweight points of interest. Jared Anderson (8-0, 8 KOs) goes for one more knockout win, and he ought to obtain this in opposition to Jeremiah Karpency (16-2-1, 6 KOs).

Prediction: Karpency has solely been stopped by first rate opponents in Oscar Rivas and Sergey Kuzmin, however Anderson can take him out early on.

Sonny Conto (6-0, 5 KOs) is one other Heavyweight hope in motion, and ‘The Bronco’ ought to have the ability to see off Waldo Contes Acosta (6-3, 3 KOs) early on of their encounter.

 

Jeremiah Milton (2-0, 2 KOs) meets Jayvone Dafney (2-2, 2 KOs), and Milton can grow to be the primary particular person to cease Dafney early.

2016 Olympic Gold Medallist, Robson Conceicao (15-0, 7 KOs) makes an look, and the proficient Brazilian takes on Mexico’s Jesus Antonio Ahumada (17–3, 11 KOs).

Prediction: Conceicao might be seeking to make his mark within the close to future, and will have an excessive amount of for Ahumada in a cushty factors win.

At Light-weight, Albert Bell (17-0, 5 KOs), must be too good for Manuel Rey Rojas (20-4, 6 KOs) however the Mexican has been the gap with Felix Verdejo not too long ago, and solely been stopped as soon as, so it’s doubtless Bell will want the scorecards.

Troy Isley (1-0) goes for win quantity two at Middleweight, and he ought to outscore LaQuan Evans (4-1, 2 KOs).

Duke Ragan (3-0, 1 KO) ought to have the ability to do the identical in opposition to Charles Clark (3-6-1, 1 KO) at Featherweight.



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