When one door closes, another opens.
And so it went for Shirley boxer Joe Smith Jr. this February when his WBO light heavyweight title bout was cancelled after his opponent tested positive for COVID-19. Smith pivoted, and took the opportunity to get married.
He enjoyed their wedding night, but skipped the honeymoon — for now. Training had to continue.
At a press conference Thursday to hype his main event fight with Maxim Vlasov — re-scheduled for Saturday, April 10 — Smith discussed looking forward to a happy honeymoon after taking care of business in the ring.
“She’s waiting on me to put on a good show for everybody, so we can go have a good time together,” Smith said, seated across the stage from his Russian counterpart during the press conference broadcasted on ESPN.
Smith (26-3, 21 KOs) and Vlasov (45-3, 26 KOs) are looking to claim the vacant WBO light heavyweight title. Coverage of their bout at the Osage Casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma, begins on ESPN about 10 p.m. The pair are expected to step into the ring about 11:15 p.m.
The two contenders were originally to fight on Feb. 13 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The weigh in for the Saturday bout is Friday.
“I’m just excited to get in there Saturday night and put my hands up. I’m 100 percent … I’m in the best shape of my life and ready to go,” said Smith, who runs a tree service on Long Island with his dad. “It’s everything I’ve been working for since I was 13.”
The tree chopping Smith, 31, is nicknamed “The Irish Bomber.” He has won 21 of his bouts by knockout.
Check out Thursday’s press conference below:
Getting to know each other
Here are some photos from Thursday’s press conference.