Joe Smith Jr: I hold this title and I want to keep it that way

Joe Smith Jr. makes the first defense of his WBO semi-heavyweight title against Steve Geffrard at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York on Saturday, January 15th. The match is live in the United Kingdom and Australia on Sunday 16 January.

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Geffrard shouldn’t have been here. Last Friday, he was preparing to weigh up for a game in Delray Beach, Florida when he was called. WBO semi-heavyweight champion Joe Smith Jr. needed an opponent after British striker Callum Johnson became infected with COVID-19. Geffrard has responded to the challenge and is now challenging Smith to become world champion.

Smith Jr vs Geffrard Tickets

Tickets from Smith Jr. vs. Geffrard to witness all the events at Turning Stone Resort Casino on Saturday, January 15, are on sale. Tickets can be purchased through Vivid Seats and TicketNetwork.

Smith (27-3, 21 KO) defeated Maxim Vlasov last April and will finally defend his title after a COVID-19 diagnosis delayed his return. Geffrard (18-2, 12 KO), a native of South Florida and a former American amateur, led 0-2 before winning 18 consecutive victories. The pair will compete in a World Cup scheduled for twelve rounds.

In the co-feature Abraham Nova (20-0, 14 KO), he tries to expand his unbeatable record by facing the 2012 Dominican Olympian William Encarnacion (19-1, 15 KO). The match is scheduled for ten rounds in spring weight.

See below what the fighters said at the pre-match press conference that took place earlier today.

Boxing fans can watch live Joe Smith Jr. vs. Steve Geffrard on ESPN + in the United States, Sky Sports in the United Kingdom and FITE TV in Australia and other countries.

Joe Smith Jr.: He will try to take this opportunity once in a lifetime

“I can’t wait to defend my world title to ESPN this Saturday. I’m so happy to be here. There were a few moments when I thought I wouldn’t be here. I can not wait! Thanks to everyone who made it possible. ”

“Ever since I became world champion, the only thing that has really changed for me is that I hold this title and I want to keep it that way.”

“Geffrard trained in the ring with the best. I’m sure he’ll do anything and try to take full advantage of this opportunity once in a lifetime. “

Steve Geffrard: I was looking forward to Smith vs. Johnson, but now I’m the one fighting for the title

“When the belts are on the line, that mental switch will turn on.” I know I can fight the best mentally and skillfully. I struggled with the best in the division and I did very well. “

“I’m a warrior, especially when I have an opportunity like this.” I can handle this opportunity. I’ll show the world who Steve Geffrard is. “

“I was in the sauna when I was challenged to this battle.” I was looking forward to Smith vs. Johnson, but now I’m fighting for the title. It’s surreal. “

Joe Smith Jr. vs. Steve Geffrard live from Verona, New York

Abraham Nova: We have one goal, and that is to win by all possible means

“I am excited because I will fight very close to my hometown (Albany). You will see an action fighter. I’m ready to give a great performance. I’m looking forward to a big victory on Saturday night. “

“I want to shine and make a statement this Saturday.” I want to send a message to the spring weight division. By the end of this year, I want to fight for the world title. I would like to challenge Emanuel ‘Vaquero’ Navarret to his title. “

“We had a game plan for our opponents for two months at a time and we changed our opponents at the last minute. I saw in my new opponent that he is a very good fighter. It has the capabilities and high IQ of a ring. He’s an Olympian. It does not matter. We have one goal, and that is to win by all means. “

Abraham Nova vs. William Encarnacion
Throw-in at Abraham Nova vs. William Encarnacion | Mikey Williams / Top Rank via Getty Images

William Encarnacion: I’m ready to go

“I’ve been waiting a long time for this moment. I’m excited about this opportunity.”

“It simply came to our notice then. I didn’t even date when I was called for this opportunity, but I always work out in the gym. I’m ready to go this Saturday. “

Smith Jr. vs Geffrard Undercard will stream live stream on ESPN +. The line-up includes rising Puerto Rican star Omar Rosario (5-0, 2 KO), 18-year-old Jahi Tucker of the weights (5-0, 3 KO) and recent American Olympian Troy Isley (3-0, 2 KO) in separate fights.

Get a complete Smith Jr vs Geffrard battle card and broadcast information.

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David Berry

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