Joe Smith Jr. is a man linked to many a challenge nowadays.
The WBO light-heavyweight champion has been the subject of a few rumours this week, which began with Artur Beterbiev hoping that a unification fight against the American was on track. The WBC and IBF title holder from Russia was said to be waiting to sign his side of the contract.
A two-fight deal at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater and then the main MSG venue itself was speculated not long afterwards. Reports claimed that Smith could defend his title against WBO No.2 contender Umar Salamov before facing former middleweight champion and fellow New Yorker Daniel Jacobs early in 2022.
Boxing Social reached out to Smith’s team to find out the current state of play.
Joe DeGuardia, President of Star Boxing who co-promote the Long Islander alongside Top Rank, said: “We have been working on all the possibilities available and the best course of action for Joe Smith Jr. We are as anxious as fans to see him defend his WBO world championship.
“As always, Joe wants the biggest challenges available, literally, and figuratively. We hope to have an announcement soon about his next fight.”
Smith, who is often remembered for his spectacular win over Bernard Hopkins in 2016, came up short against WBA 175lbs champion Dmitry Bivol in March 2019. But his world championship dream was realised this year when the blue collar, 31-year-old outpointed Maxim Vlasov in a hard-fought encounter to become WBO light-heavyweight king.
Unifications and nights at the grand old MSG should be in the sights of the popular New Yorker and it likely won’t be long until we hear confirmation of where and when he fights next.
Main image: Mikey Williams/Top Rank.