By Chris Glover
Demetrius Andrade successfully defended his WBO world middleweight title on an evening that it was also revealed that WBA world light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol had signed a deal with DAZN and would square off against the man who ended Bernard Hopkins career, Joe Smith Jr.
Smith Jr, who has a Rocky style story of working his way to the top, opened up about getting the opportunity to fight the excellent Bivol.
Smith Jr said, “I’m very grateful to be given this opportunity. I think that the time is right now for me to become a world champion.
“If Bivol comes to have a fight then somebody could end up getting knocked out. I’m training hard for this fight and I believe it’s going to be an explosive fight.”
Promoter Eddie Hearn weighed in on his link up with Bivol and World of Boxing, and gave his take on the Bivol vs Smith Jr fight.
He said, “I’m delighted to link up with World of Boxing. They have a fantastic stable, arguably one of the best in world boxing.
“Bivol vs Smith Jr is a fantastic fight and it will be an unmissable clash at the Turning Stone Resort. Smith Jr deserves this opportunity and will look to take it with both hands and Bivol will want to look good so he can go on to unification fights in the future. It’s going to be an explosive fight.”
It was also revealed that Bivol has plans to move down to 168 at some point, in an attempt to become a two weight world champion.
During the post-fight press conference of Demetrius Andrade’s victory over Artur Akavov, the Rhode Island native opened up on what he wanted next. The two division world champion said, “I would go up to 168 for a big fight as I want the big names. Eddie Hearn is making these big fights happen and I want to be in them.
“I would love to fight GGG (Gennady Golovkin) next if that fight can happen. I just want to fight the big names of the division and prove that I am the number one fighter in the middleweight division.”
Promoter Eddie Hearn echoed these sentiments and also opened up on future plans for Matchroom Boxing.
Hearn said, “We’re looking to make the biggest fights possible that can be made. That was our plan with Canelo and Jacobs and we delivered.
“I wanted the Maurice Hooker vs Jorge Linares fight but that won’t happen now. We’re working on Kell Brook vs Jesse Vargas and Anthony Joshua will either box in April or June. There is some big announcements coming in the next few weeks.”
Hearn also revealed that Tevin Farmer will defend his IBF World Super Featherweight title on St Patrick’s Day in Philadelphia, on a show that will also feature Katie Taylor.