TULSA, OK (April 8, 2021) – Joe Smith Jr., a small business owner and former Long Island union construction worker, just wants to fight. Smith, who operates Team Smith Tree Service with his father, hopes to knock down Maxim Vlasov and win the vacant WBO light heavyweight title Saturday night at the Osage Casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma (ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN, 10 p.m. ET).
Smith and Vlasov had seen each other head-to-head for a pre-fight press conference on February 11 in Las Vegas. Vlasov tested positive for COVID-19 the next day, and the fight was temporarily derailed. Vlasov recovered, went home to Russia, and then finished training camp in Las Vegas.
Smith married, but delayed his honeymoon to concentrate on the task at hand. Instead of the bright lights of Las Vegas, they will fight at Sooner State in front of a limited crowd.
Before fight night, at press conference number two, this is what both fighters had to say:
Joe Smith Jr.
“I was 100 percent ready to go back in February, but it’s okay. I had time to enjoy my wedding day and now I am ready to fight one more time. “
“I know what I am dealing with. He’s a guy who throws a lot of punches and is aggressive. He has a lot of experience, but I have prepared well and I am going to give 100 percent of myself to be victorious ”.
“Become a world champion and hear the words ‘and the new champion!’ it’s going to be an incredible feeling. This is everything I’ve been working for since I was 15 years old. “
“I’m ready. I’ve been preparing well. I’ve been improving my skills and I’m ready to give it my all, 100 percent. “
“Even though I am an experienced fighter. I feel the same as a younger boxer with less experience because I know this is a great opportunity for me. It is a great responsibility and a great risk. I am very excited and motivated for this fight.
“I took preparation seriously, I watched a lot of his fights and learned a few things. I don’t like to talk about his weakest or strongest points or divulge strategies or plans related to the fight.