Home Columns Joe Smith Jr vs Maxim Vlasov – Results & Post-Fight Report

Joe Smith Jr vs Maxim Vlasov – Results & Post-Fight Report

Smith Jr claims vacant WBO Light Heavyweight crown in Tulsa

Joe Smith Jr became the new WBO Light Heavyweight world champion with a majority decision win over Maxim Vlasov in Tulsa Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images
Joe Smith Jr became the new WBO Light Heavyweight world champion with a majority decision win over Maxim Vlasov in Tulsa Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images

Joe Smith Jr claimed the vacant WBO Light Heavyweight title in a real war of wills with Maxim Vlasov in front of a decent crowd at the Osage Casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Saturday.

Smith (27-3, 21 KOs) had to overcome a nasty cut, and a few hairy moments, before taking a majority decision victory in a close run affair against Vlasov (45-4, 26 KOs).

The fight began at a frantic pace, with the 34-year-old making Smith miss and confusing him with an up and down style in the first round.

Smith, who fell short against WBA champion Dmitry Bivol in 2019 had a cut above his right eye at the end of the frame, and he fought with more purpose in the second round as a result, and a hard right hand in the dying embers of the session found the mark.

It took the Russian a couple of rounds to get the purchase back in his legs, and he took some more punishment in the fifth, with several right hands landing for Smith.

The Long Island man’s cut once again became a hindrance in the sixth, and Vlasov took full advantage, connecting with a right hand that forced Smith back to the ropes.

‘The Irish Bomber’ would regain the initiative in round seven, and a left hook on the counter had Vlasov stumbling, but he took his assault and survived the round.

The action was give and take stuff, and Vlasov was inching into the argument with decent middle rounds, landing solid power shots that were troubling his opponent.

Vlasov remained competitive throughout against Smith Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images
Vlasov remained competitive throughout against Smith Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images

The penultimate round saw the pendulum swing back towards Smith, and he hurt Vlasov with a right hand that forced the visitor to hold.

The 31-year-old was then warned after he landed a shot behind the head, but Vlasov was ducking down in any case. The final round came and went and the contest went to the scorecards.

Vlasov felt he had done enough to win Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images
A unification with WBC and IBF champion Artur Beterbiev could await Smith Photo Credit: Top Rank

A verdict of 114-114 was overruled by scores of 115-113 and 115-112 which crowned Smith the new champion.

Smith could now be in line for a unification clash with WBC and IBF champion and Top Rank stablemate, Artur Beterbiev.

A unification with WBC and IBF champion Artur Beterbiev could await Smith Photo Credit: Top Rank
A unification with WBC and IBF champion Artur Beterbiev could await Smith Photo Credit: Top Rank

“I believe I got the victory tonight because they saw I landed the harder shots. He landed a lot of punches. It was a great fight,” Smith said-post-fight.

“I want the other belts. I want the big fights out there. Now I gotta get back in the gym and keep working on my technique and stuff. I believe I’m going to start unifying belts.”

Vlasov felt he had done enough to win the fight.

“I felt confident I was winning and was securing rounds in the bank with the judges,” Vlasov said post-fight.

“I never felt that I was behind at any stage of the fight. This was my opportunity to show the world I was a world champion, and I did that, and Joe Smith knows I did that.”

Ajagba KO’s Howards

The undercard was headed by Heavyweight hope, Efe Ajagba, and the 26-year-old is in need of a step up in class in 2021 than Brian Howard, who the Nigerian blasted out in three rounds.

A left-right combination crumpled Howard (15-5, 12 KOs) on impact, and Ajagba moves to 15-0 (12 KOs).

Anderson marches on

Another bright prospect is Jared Anderson (9-0, 9 KOs) and the Ohioan Heavyweight needed two rounds to knock out Jeremiah Karpency (16-3-1, 6 KOs), who had been down in each of the first two rounds.

Albert Bell moved to 18-0 (5 KOs), as he took a clear eight round decision at Lightweight against Manuel Rey Rojas.

Three scores of 78-74 ensured that the 28-year-old remained unbeaten.

2016 Olympic Gold Medallist, Robson Conceicao (16-0, 8 KOs) also remained undefeated, as he stopped Jesus Antonio Ahumada (17-4, 11 KOs) in the seventh of their Super Featherweight eight rounder.

In the third of the Heavyweight attractions, Trey Lippe (17-0, 17 KOs) made it 17 straight wins as a professional, as he stopped Jason Bergman (27-20-2, 18 KOs) in three, who was forced to withdraw with an ankle injury.

Heavyweight prospect Sonny Conto claimed his seventh straight win Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images
Heavyweight prospect Sonny Conto claimed his seventh straight win Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images

Heavyweight prospect Sonny Conto (7-0, 6 KOs) needed just over half a round to see off Waldo Cortes Acosta (6-4, 3 KOs), whilst fellow Jeremiah Milton (3-0, 3 KOs) saw off Jayvone Dafney (2-3, 2 KOs) in the opening round of their Heavyweight clash.

At Featherweight, Duke Ragan (4-0, 1 KO) took all six rounds against Charles Clark (3-7-1, 1 KO).

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