Joe Smith Jr set for first-ever title defense against Umar Salamov

  • Tom Ward
Joe Smith Jr will defend his light heavyweight belt against Umar Salamov this winter

Joe Smith Jr will defend his light heavyweight belt against Umar Salamov this year after Joe DeGuardia confirmed they have finally signed their contracts.

GIVEMESPORT previously reported that Joe Smith Jr has been locked in talks with Daniel Jacobs to face-off in an Empire State clash early next year. 

But before he does that however, Smith Jr, 31, will make the first defence of his title against Salamov, the mandatory challenger to the WBO belt Smith holds, who has been waiting patiently for his opportunity. 

DeGuardia – Smith Jr’s co-promoter – confirmed the good news to Mike Coppinger adding that Madison Square Garden in New York is the likely destination. 

DeGuardia told ESPN: “The Theater [at MSG in New York] is the most logical spot”

“I think it’s the perfect place for Joe to make his first world-title defense.

“We’d certainly pack it, that’s for sure.”

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The American claimed the vacant title when he defeated Russian giant Maxim Vlasov in Oklahoma in April and now he faces Salamov in the first defence of his title in either late October or early November.

Salamov is himself a former IBO light-heavyweight champion and will be a dangerous opponent for the 31-year-old Smith Jr, who is looking forward to fighting Jacobs in the first quarter of 2022.

In a post on social media, he wrote the following: “Just got word from my team that there’s an offer to fight Daniel Jacobs.

“I love this fight, especially in New York. Growing up fighting in the amateurs there were two fighters, Danny and Will Rosinsky that I loved going to see fight.

“Every time I got the opportunity to see them fight, they would destroy their opponent and I learned a lot about the sport of boxing from watching them.

“I never got the chance to face them in the amateurs due to them being a little older than I was. Unfortunately when the time came that I was ready they had become professionals.”

“In 2015 I got the opportunity to face Will at the Barclay’s Center and to me it has been one of my biggest accomplishments as a fighter. I learned so much that night.

“I would love to face Danny to end that thought of “What if we fought?” in my mind as a kid.
What do you think Daniel? This Fall at MSG?”

Joe Smith Jr will defend his light heavyweight title against Umar Salamov this winter.

Joe Smith Jr will defend his light heavyweight title against Umar Salamov this winter.

Jacobs’ trainer Andre Rozier, however, doesn’t seem to be so keen on the idea himself. 

Speaking to FightHype.com, Rozier said: “Joe Smith is a wonderful, wonderful friend of ours. He reps my clothing line to the team. I love him to death.

“I really don’t want to see them fight, but this is a business of boxing. This is how they make their money. I’m not going to be the one to deny them making millions of dollars.

“We were hoping to mix it up with Joe Smith. We have to wait and see. Joe Smith has a mandatory that he has to take care of and we’ll see what happens.”

Read more: Kell Brook claims he’s in talks to fight Amir Khan and brags ‘it’s the biggest fight in British boxing’

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