Joe Smith KOs Steve Geffrard in the 9th, Wants Artur Beterbiev Next

Joe “The Beast” Smith Jr. successfully defended his WBO world light heavyweight title for the first time by a ninth-round knockout over late substitute Steve Jeffrard. Jeffrard attacked immediately at the start of the ninth and tied eleven solid left and right combinations to Jeffrard’s head, including the left hook that forced Jeffrard to take the knee. When referee Mark Nelson reached nine, Jeffrard Angle asked the front-line doctor to tell the referee to stop the fight, which he did in thirty-seven seconds.

The main event and five bottom card matches were promoted by Top Rank Boxing of Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York, in front of a mostly professional Smith crowd that was constantly chanting loudly, “Let’s go Joe” and “Joseph” throughout the match. This fight card aired on ESPN.

Smith dominated this one-sided fight, chasing Jeffard aggressively around the ring and knocking down the defensive-minded Jeffrard, especially with punches and power shots. He fired several powerful shots at the end of the first round and a solid right hook to Jeffer’s body in the second. Smith attached several powerful hooks to Jeffrey’s head and right to his body in the third round. He continued his offensive pressure into the fourth round, earning a pair of set rights at the head of Jeffrard. Jeffrard staggered in the fifth round from a hard kick to the right and connected with a big shot to the left and a strong body in the sixth. Smith faced Jeffrard in trouble for an eighth, tied up with several fixtures, including the top right at the end of the round (he defeated Jeffrard 35 to 3 on the round).

According to CompuBox punch stats, Smith threw more punches than Geffrard (665 to 463), dropped more shots (233 to 81), and had a better contact ratio (35 to 17). He beat Jeffrard by nearly twice as many punches per round and averaged 40 and over 80 punches per round.

Smith also delivered more snaps (61 to 20) and nearly three times as many powerful shots (172 to 61, an average of 59 percent).

He was ahead of the three judges’ scorecards in stop time (80-72, 79-72, and 79-73) and lost only two rounds in the fight (the second round on the Don Trella scorecard and the seventh round on the Tom Schreck scorecard).

Smith improved to 28-3, 22 KOs. He’s won four times in a row since losing by unanimous twelve-round decision undefeated WBA Light Heavyweight Champion, Dmitri Bevol (19-0, 11 KOs) on his first shot for the world title, which also happens to be at Turning Stone Resort Casino. In his last appearance in April 2021, Smith won a twelve-round majority decision over Maxim Vlasov for the WBO title vacated by Canelo Alvarez.

Geffrard, who took up this fight after eight days of notice (former world title rival Callum Johnson tested positive for Covid-19 and had to pull out of the bout) was taking a massive step into the competition, dropping to 18-3, 12 KOs. His eighteen bout winning streak, which he started after he lost the first two rounds of his career, has been interrupted. This was Jeffrey’s first fight after eight rounds.

Smith is hoping for an important fight later this year, notably a unification match against WBC and IBF world lightweight heavyweight title holder, Beterbiev. (17-0, 17 KOs). If Beterbiev wanted this fight, it could be easy to fight because they both share the same meadows, Top Rank Boxing. He’d also like a rematch against Bevol (who needs to fight his mandatory challenger, undefeated and former WBO middleweight champion, the upcoming Gilberto Ramirez) and has expressed interest in the all-New York match against the former World Middleweight Champion, Daniel Jacobs (37-3, 30 KOs), who is fighting at the super middleweight (who will judge John Ryder on February 12th). Additionally, he was mentioned as a potential competitor in Alvarez’s next fight (57-1-2, 39 KOs).

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