Smith Jr v Vlasov Promises to be An Intriguing Contrast in Styles
The on-again, off-again bout between Joe Smith Jr (26-3, 2 KOs) and Maxim Vlasov (45-3, 26 KOs) for the vacant WBO World Light Heavyweight is now a go. On March 17, Top Rank announced that Smith Jr v Vlasov will now happen on April 10 at the Osage Casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It will air live on ESPN.
They were originally set to fight on February 13 in Las Vegas. However, it was postponed due to Vlasov testing positive for COVID-19.
This is Smith’s second attempt at a world title. In March 2019, he lost by unanimous decision to the current WBA ‘Super’ World 175-pound champion Dmitry Bivol. The 31-year-old from Long Island, New York is determined to take advantage of this next opportunity.
“I am extremely motivated after all I have been through in my career. I am proud of all I have accomplished, and I am confident I will bring the belt home on April 10 and move forward with my goal of unifying belts and proving I am the best light heavyweight in the world.”
Vlasov is one of the more unique stories currently in the sport. He began his career at middleweight and has fought as high as cruiserweight prior to dropping down to 175 in 2019. He is 3-0 since his drop down in weight.
Now fully healthy, the 34-year-old is ready to fulfill his lifelong dream of winning a world title.
“I am ready to return to the ring and become the new WBO Light Heavyweight World champion. The postponement was a minor setback, but it will be worth the wait when I have that belt around my waist.”
Both are veterans and know their way around the ring. On paper, this is a very interesting clash of boxing methodologies.
Smith is a come-forward fighter and one of the hardest punchers. His right hand is a particularly potent weapon. Vlasov is athletic with sharp reflexes. He has fast hands, fast feet, and good upper-body movement. The fighter who can implement their styles to the greatest effect will be the deciding factor on who will win.
By: Michael Wilson Jr.