Joe Smith Jr Returns Against Callum Johnson In January 2022!

Joe Smith Jr Defends The WBO Title Against Callum Johnson

WBO light heavyweight champion Joe Smith Jr. poses, Callum Johnson in the ring with his titles
Joe Smith Jr. (left), Callum Johnson

Joe Smith Jr Returns to Action Against Callum Johnson

After seven months of inactivity, WBO light heavyweight champion Joe Smith Jr (27-3, 21 KO’s) will stage his first title defense on January 15, 2022. If things had gone as planned, Smith would have returned to the ring on October 30 to face Umar Salamov. Yet that bout was sidelined when the New York native contracted COVID-19 and was forced to withdraw. Now that he has recovered, Smith, 32, will test his mettle against hard-hitting Callum “The One” Johnson (20-1, 14 KO’s).

The two are scheduled to go to war at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino located in Verona, New York. While there is no doubt that he is happy to get in the ring again, the champion sounded almost apologetic that he was returning to combat versus Johnson.

Joe Smith Jr announces his upcoming fight with Callum Johnson


When he was last in the ring, Smith went life and death with Maxim Vlasov in a very exciting and action-packed brawl. The Russian was able to get off to a great start by consistently keeping Smith off balance and off rhythm with tricky shots. As the bout wore on, the New Yorker’s infamous power was able to greatly even out the affair. A late-fight knockdown suffered by Vlasov is what ultimately saved the day for Smith. In the end, despite the neck-and-neck nature of the contest, Smith was awarded a split decision win.   

For Johnson, this will mark his third bout in the states after winning and losing one apiece. In the winning effort, the One claimed a third round knockout of Sean Monaghan. Yet, in the losing affair, Johnson went toe-to-toe with his most accomplished adversary to date in IBF and WBC light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev. During the short war the two combatants fought near constantly in a tight phonebooth of destruction. Johnson even managed to floor Beterbiev in the second round.

Unfortunately for the One, the Russian liquefied his equilibrium with a fight-ending right hook in the fourth round. The crushing defeat was also his first attempt at a world title. Johnson has enjoyed a three-fight win streak since being saddled with his sole professional loss. If given his way, his second attempt at a world title will have very different results. So, while this may not be the bout that Joe Smith Jr wants, there is an excellent chance that this will turn into a delightful action-fight for the fans.

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By: Bakari Simpson

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Bakari is a writer and contributor for Visit to view more of his literary work.