mild heavyweight contender Joe “The Beast” Smith Jr., the consummate everyman, spent more than a decade as a union laborer on big apple. He now owns and operates a tree service enterprise, cutting and trimming trees when he’s now not training.

At 31 years old, this far-from-regular Joe will fight Russian veteran Maxim Vlasov for the vacant WBO mild heavyweight world title Saturday, Feb. 13. in the 10-round light-weight co-feature, former world champion Richard “RC” Commey will fight Dominican slickster Jackson Marinez.

Promoted via right Rank, in association with Joe DeGuardia’s superstar Boxing and Patriot Promotions, Smith-Vlasov and Commey-Marinez will be televised reside on ESPN and ESPN Deportes at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

“here is Rocky IV come to life,” mentioned true Rank chairman Bob Arum. “Joe Smith Jr. is boxing’s blue-collar hero, a relentless fighter who chops down timber backyard the ring and chops down opponents when the lights are brilliant. Maxim Vlasov is a tough Russian who goes to meet Joe punch for punch within the core of the ring. This can be an early contender for 2021 combat of the year.”

DeGuardia referred to, “i’m very confident that Joe Smith Jr. might be the brand new WBO world champion, but I additionally comprehend that Maxim Vlasov is a strong and seasoned fighter who also wants to turn into champion. it’ll make for a good night of boxing on ESPN. Kudos to the WBO for recognizing Joe’s expertise and mandating this fight, and to Bob Arum and appropriate Rank for their persisted excellence right through this pandemic.”

Smith (26-3, 21 KOs) is most excellent everyday for sending dwelling legend Bernard Hopkins during the ropes and into retirement in 2016, however an international title has to this point confirmed elusive. He acquired a shot on the WBA light heavyweight world title in March 2019 and almost knocked out Dmitry Bivol in the 10th round, but Bivol held on to win a unanimous resolution. Smith rampaged in 2020, dominating Jesse Hart over 10 rounds and knocking out former world champion Eleider Alvarez in an August title eliminator. those victories propelled Smith to the WBO No. 1 ranking and a 2nd crack at world title glory.

Smith stated, “I even have worked very challenging to get a second probability at a global title. I believe I even have more advantageous, and on February 13, i’m going to make my dream come proper and develop into world champion.”

Vlasov (forty five-3, 26 KOs), a 15-yr-seasoned, has been a global-level operator at tremendous middleweight, gentle heavyweight and cruiserweight. He moved down to mild heavyweight in early 2019 and shortly joined the ranks of the accurate contenders. In a six-month span, Vlasov stopped Omar Garcia in four rounds, topped longtime contender Isaac Chilemba by unanimous choice to avenge a 2011 defeat, and shut out the up to now undefeated Emmanuel Martey over 10 rounds.

“here is a pretty good possibility, and maybe my ultimate probability, to ultimately develop into a world champion,” Vlasov pointed out. “Smith is a robust and relentless fighter, so I expect a really serious problem.”

Commey (29-3, 26 KOs), from Accra, Ghana, has been a lightweight considering the fact that turning seasoned in his domestic nation in February 2011. He fell just short in his first attempt at a world title, dropping a cut up resolution to Robert Easter Jr. in September 2016 for the vacant IBF title. Commey gained the IBF title in February 2019 with a second-round stoppage over Isa Chaniev, then defended it in June with an eighth-circular knockout over former world champion Ray Beltran. His title reign ended that December, when Teofimo Lopez emerged with a celebrity-making second-round TKO. Commey has now not fought when you consider that the Lopez fight and is re-energized for one other world title run.

Commey mentioned, “or not it’s been a protracted and frustrating wait to get again into the ring, and February 13 can’t come soon sufficient. I’ve kept myself suit, but as soon as I heard the date, I stepped up my practising. All i’ve been brooding about is profitable back my title. i am not looking previous Jackson Marinez, as i do know he is a tough, slick fighter, so he has my full attention. The road to redemption begins now.”

Marinez (19-1, 7 KOs), from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, entered 2020 largely unknown to battle fans. that each one changed in August, when he outboxed the unbeaten Rolando Romero over 12 rounds. The authentic judges disagreed with most boxing observers, and Marinez lost a unanimous determination. informed by using Robert Garcia in Riverside, Calif., Marinez receives a shot at redemption and would enter the world title graphic with a victory over Commey.

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