Joe Smith Jr will be back against Umar Salamov in january

November 2, 2021 Blog, boxe, Chroniques

Interview with Joe DeGuardia

By Jeff Jeffrey, TVA Sports/91.9 FM Sports Boxing Colomnist

Joe Smith Jr (27-3, 21 ko’s)

I had the chance to talk with the President of Star Boxing, Joe DeGuardia about the future of Joe Smith Jr (27-3, 21 ko’s) the WBO light heavyweight champion. While everyone was expecting a major unification bout against WBC/IBF champion, Artur Beterbiev (16-0, 16 ko’s), it seems this attraction will have to wait as Smith will have to face his mandatary obligation by squarring off with the Russian Jackal, Umar Salamov ( 26-1, 19 ko’s). This major fight will have to wait until early in january as Smith contracted COVID but was set for october 30. Salamov is a very entertaining and dangerous fighter. As for Beterbiev vs Smith, well, they both want the same thing, getting all the belts at 175 pounds, so it’s meant to happen.

Salamov was set to fight Maxim Vlasov earlier this year in the WBO tournement but stepped aside because he contracted COVID. The Jackal deserves his title shot. Smith will need to be careful and not overlook Salamov to get what he eventualy wants, being the unified champion of the light heavyweight division. To win the war, you got to be victorious in battles first. COVID is not something to be taken lightly, Beterbiev, Vlasov, Salamov got it at some point and now it’s Joe’s turn.

The battle will take place boxing fans.

The Irish Beast now hold victories over Will Rosinsky, Andrzej Fonfara, Bernard Hopkins, Jesse Hart, Eleider ”Storm” Alvarez and Maxim Vlasov for the vacant title. He was one second away of winning the WBA belt from Dmitry Bivol in 2019 by rocking him in round 10.

It’s unfortunate that a couple of weeks before the fight, Smith contracted COVID. He tried to beat it, like the true champion he is, but was forced to rest.

Jeff Jeffrey: Good evening Mr DeGuardia. How are you?

Joe DeGuardia: Fine, thank you

JJ: Every boxing fans was expecting the showdown between Smith and Salamov october 30th ? Then on the 21 of september we learned that Joe contracted COVID. Therefore, he would have to get out of the fight for now to get some rest. How did he get it?

JD: Hard to say, just like everybody else I think, you never quite know.

JJ: How bad de he get it? Did he have strong symptoms?

JD: It was bad and he wasn’t feeling well. he tried to overcome it. The first 3 days, he tried to fight it out without knowing it was COVID, he thought it was flu. He jogged a lot, trying to get better by exercising but got tested and find out he had to stop everything to take care of himself. You know, Joe did everything to protect himself from this virus, but you still can catch it.

JJ: So he didn’t have a clue what he had at first.

JD: He really wanted to fight Salamov and be in that ring. It doesn’t matter who he fights, Beterbiev or anybody else, he was ready to go.

JJ: What the next move for Joe Smith?

JD: We are gonna try to bring in back in the ring right at the beginning of the new year Umar Salamov in January. He will be ready and will have to do a whole new training camp. Joe is doing way better now. I saw him in my office last week and he was feeling well.

JJ: Artur Beterbiev is gonna defend his WBC/IBF titles versus Marcus Browne december 17. Can I have your thoughts on that fight?

JD: It’s an interesting fight, Marcus is a great boxer with a lot of skills, but I’m looking forward for Beterbiev coming throught, because maybe then he will Joe for the unification. I wanna see that fight happen. I believe Artur is beginning to slow down and Joe could have the upperhand against him. I hope we can be in the ring with him before he gets too old.

JJ: The Irish fought and won against Maxim Vlasov, then he will be back against Umar Salamov and hopefully Artur Beterbiev next year too for the unification of the WBO/WBC/IBF light heavyweight titles. If we were in cold war situation, it woulkd be Joe Smith Jr, USA last line of defense agaisnt former Soviet Union fighters. Would you say Vlasov was his biggest win?

JD: The Alvarez fight was a big win, so was the Hopkins fight. Against Vlasov it was war and for the title, so it’s very significant for Joe. We are eager to get him in the ring.

JJ: Thank you very much for your time.

JD: No problem. It’s a pleasure!

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