Joe Smth Jr Dominant in TKO Title Defense
WBO Light Heavyweight Joe Smith Jr. waited for several months to defend his belt for the first time, and he made the most of it with an impressive 9th round KO over late replacement Steve Geffrard on Saturday night in the ESPN/Top Rank Boxing main event.
Smith, now 28-3, was repeatedly able to score against an easy target Geffrard throughout the fight and he trapped the challenger in his own corner early in the 9th frame and did let up. He scored with several hard punches with Geffrard ducking down. Eventually, Smith dropped Geffard, now 18-3. onto his knees with a left and the weary challenger took the 10 count.
— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) January 16, 2022
Geffrard, who took the fight on 8 days notice when British challenger Callum Johnson tested positive for Covid 19, should be credited for taking some big shots and making Smith work. But, he was completely outclassed and fell hopelessly behind early.
The 32 year old Smith unloaded on Geffrard with a barrage of rights and lefts over the final :90 of the fourth round backing the challenger up and helping build a commanding early lead.
It was the same story halfway through round five at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino, as Smith landed a big straight right hand through Geffrard’s high hands and rocked him back to the ropes. Smith wailed on Geffrard with rights and lefts and even, wobbled him a second time with referee Mark Nelson looking closely. Smith landed 31 power shots in that frame. However, the challenger threw enough punches and grabbed Smith enough to survive the round.
Geffrard, who had never been past the eighth round in his career, simply didn’t have enough offense and it was a matter of time before Smith would wear him down/ stop him. That came just :37 into the 9th.
It was Smith’s first title defense after winning the WBO world title in a tight 12 round decision over Russian Maxim Vlasov last April.
Earlier in the night rising Featherweight contender Abraham “Super” Nova remained unbeaten with an 8th round TKO win over William Encarnacion. Nova was in complete control bombing Encarnacion with hard rights throughout the bout. He improved to 21-0 with 15 KOs and may have a date later in 2022 with WBO 126 lb. champ, Emanuel Navarrete.