Chopping Down Trees with Joe Smith Jnr

Joe Smith Jnr has a life outside of boxing, and a road to escape, but for now remains focused on conquering the light-heavyweight division before relegating to the day job.

Do a Google search on Team Smith Tree Service, and across the board you’ll see five-star ratings and great reviews on the lightweight heavyweight Joe Smith Jnr landscaping company.

“That’s not all I have,” said Smith, the No. 2 Lightweight Belt owner and a WBO holder. “During training, I just focused on my fighting one hundred percent. I call to check things and make sure everything is OK and do a few little things here and there, but mostly I just focus on my fighting. My dad shows up on all the job sites and makes sure the customer is happy. We don’t leave until they are happy.”

So, the positive feedback isn’t because dad lets clients know that his son is one of the most powerful men on the planet?

“He might throw that here and there,” laughs Smith, in good shape mentally and physically heading into his January 15 title defense against late substitute Steve Jeffrard. Fighting Geffrard wasn’t the original plan for the match at Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, New York, but when Callum Johnson was forced out of the match after testing positive for COVID-19, 31-year-old Jeffrard stepped up. on the plate.

In this way, Smith finally got his first chance to return to the ring since April of last year, when he won the vacant WBO belt with a hard-fought victory over Maxim Vlasov. It was a wonderful night for the Long Islanders, who summed up the struggles of blue-collar workers who climbed the hard way, navigated the rough waters of boxing business, and eventually hit their paychecks.

The route it took to get there was not the easiest,” Smith said. “I had a couple of big injuries during my career, and I got over them, came back, and kept pushing. I had big fights I wasn’t supposed to win, I made it through those fights and came out on top and got that belt. So it was a great feeling for me. I can’t wait to see what comes out of it.”

Smith was a day laborer at Local 66, had worked in a promising boxing career with rough construction work for years, never knowing if he would ever reach the championship level in the ring but made sure he had a backup plan if those dreams never came true.

“That was the main goal, that we don’t have to get up and go to work every day,” he said. “I just wanted to put myself where my future would be good and not have to worry.”

After a 21-1 run at the local circuit in New York, the 2016 fight with Andrzej Fonfara was his outstanding performance, stopping the Polish rival in less than a round. Seven months later, he cemented his place in the record books as the man who ended Bernard Hopkins’ career in the Hall of Fame via an eighth-round knockout.

The victory was a realization that boxing might be his ticket to a different life for him, and in 2017, he started Team Smith Tree Service with his father and had the luxury to dedicate most (but not all) of his time to the chase. main belt.

“Since fighting Hopkins, because I knew I was fighting the best player in the world now, I had to be completely devoted to boxing,” Smith said. “Fortunately, I was able to save some money that I needed and get my own business that will come up with something where I can train full time.”

Unfortunately, there will be roadblocks. In his first fight after Hopkins in July 2017, Smith broke his jaw at a loss decision to Sullivan Parreira and underwent surgery. He fought a tuning battle for his 2018 comeback against Melvin Russell, and that minute and 45 seconds of work wasn’t enough to prepare him for the 2019 challenge for Dmitri Bevol’s WBA title, as he lost a lopsided decision.

But since then, Smith has rebounded with style, beating Jesse Hart and Elder Alvarez before attempting to win the title against Vlasov. All the celebration would be from there had it not been for a battle with COVID-19 that hit him hard in September last year and forced the cancellation of a match against Omar Salamov.

“I’ve had it for three or four weeks in a row,” Smith said. “It was so bad. When it was happening, I was surprised at how bad I really was, considering I was in good shape. It was horrible. It was one of the worst things I’ve ever been through. I stayed in the hospital for two nights, and they actually told me for some reason that athletes and people who are otherwise healthy are getting worse.”

It was a scary time for the 32-year-old, who has since recovered and returned to normal in the lead up to his first title defense. And while he takes Richards seriously, his plans are much bigger than this weekend’s fight. That is, he wants more belts for his collection.

“Just to be a world champion, not many people can say that and grab that belt,” Smith said. “But I am not satisfied yet. I want to fight the big battles, I want to get the other heroes and unite. Then it will be something really special.”

Artur Petterbiev and longtime rival Bevol stand alongside Smith in the leaders circle at 175lbs, and although a man is ready to step into the ring with both, wanting and having big fights are two different things in this day and age. Does Smith think he’ll get world champion Peterbief, or a rematch with Bevol, should he win on Saturday?

“I don’t think it’s an easy path to fight or get fights, but I hope for the best,” he said. “I know that as much as they say, these heroes don’t want my warriors. I signed two contracts to fight Petribev and no fight happened. Bevol, he’s a great champion, but I think he caught me in time. He was pretty laid off, I just came back and fought an ordinary man [Russell] Before that, and I feel like I’ve improved a lot since that fight. This fight helped me a lot and opened my eyes to other things I needed to work on. So I’m really looking forward to making those fights happen.”

And if it doesn’t, you can guess how Joe Smith works. He will keep knocking down trees until the job is done.

“I am fighting to continue my career,” he said. You don’t need to lose at this point. I want to achieve my goal.”

Leave a Comment