Irish Joe Smith Jr. Kayos Fonfara. World Title Next?
Editorial By Robert Brizel, Head Real Combat Media Boxing Correspondent
*Photo Credit: Robert Brizel, Real Combat Media
Long Island’s Irish Joe Smith Jr. has risen with trainer Tommy Gallagher to become one of the top five light heavyweights in the world. His first round destruction of Andrzej Fonfara at UIC Pavilion on Saturday night, June 18, 2016, has served the 175 pound division with notice. The world ranked Fonfara went down twice in the first round and was out under the corner pads after the second knockdown.
Smith has won 16 consecutive bouts, with 12 knockouts in that span. The Fonfara camp seems to have overlooked his power hitting ability and streak of note, and Fonfara was not prepared to deal with Smith’s power when he entered the ring in front of his hometown Chicago Polish crowd. Polish super middleweight Maciej Sulecki reached 23-0 with a tenth round stoppage of 24-0 Hugo Centeno Jr. of California in the bout preceding, so there was no jinx on other Polish fighters in the same ring. Smith had Fonfara’s number, and in the process, vaulted his career to the top while ending Fonfara’s championship boxing career for all purposes except journeyman opponent status.
Sergey Kovalev versus Andre Ward is scheduled for November 19, 2016, provided both fighters can win interim bouts over the summer. This leaves Smith in a position to challenge the winner of 38 year old Adonis Stevenson versus Thomas Williams Jr. in a World Boxing Council World Light Heavyweight title bout Quebec City, Canada on July 29, 2016. Smith could also opt to travel to Germany to challenge World Boxing Association World Light Heavyweight champion Jurgen Brahmer, whose last defense was in March 2016. Smith could also try his hand against southpaw former light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal in Canada.
Smith could also fight WBA-NABA champion Artur Beterbiev, a Russian ex-Olympian fighting out of Canada. WBC Silver titleholder Eleider Alvarez, a Columbian fighting out of Canada, could be another possibility for Smith if he wins he bout on July 29, 2016, in Quebec city against Maximiliano Jorge Gomez. Samuel Clarkson former champion Chad Dawson, and Tommy Karpency could be better candidates for local New York City area fights next for Smith to defend his WBC International title, but not Long Beach, New York light heavyweight Seanie Monaghan who is unlikely to be paired with another local fighter.