“Boxing Tonight” is IThe weekly look at Saturday night’s event in the UK and abroad, with details on how to watch and what to look for
The up and down arenas in the UK will remain muted with British boxing on pause, but in New York, there will be a title at stake this weekend. Joe Smith Jr. will defend his WBO light heavyweight belt – but his rivals didn’t stand in line to take on him.
After his opponent Callum Johnson was disqualified after testing positive for Covid, promoter Joe DeGuardia has been given the unenviable task of finding a last-minute replacement.
“We literally went through a dozen fighters, and the guys were turning it down left and right,” DeGuardia said. “Finally after about the eighth man, [Smith] He said, “Listen, Joe, whoever you put in there, I don’t care, I’m fighting, just go and make a deal.”
With only eight days’ notice, it is no exaggeration to say that Stephen Jeffrard could not have imagined an opportunity like this presenting itself. The call came as a shock, but it promises to “rise to the occasion”.
“I keep telling myself,” he adds. “I’m going to show the world what Steve Jeffrey is all about.”
Bookmakers are not sure. The odds are stacked firmly against him and it’s no surprise that Smith (27-3-0) is asserting himself more and more in the division.
His star continued to rise, and his career was once synonymous with a somewhat comical victory over 51-year-old Bernard Hopkins that shattered the boxing legend in the eighth round.
Taking on Artur Beterbiev is the ultimate goal in the Light Heavyweight Division’s final showdown. Pick any section of the hat, and you’ll find people inside boxing who want to tell you that Canelo should fight in it. However, in the real world, Smith is trying to assert himself as the King at 175 pounds.
Match details of Smith Jr. and Jeffrard
- Date: Saturday 15 January (the early hours of Sunday morning UK time)
- Place: Turning Stone Resort and Casino, New York
- fight time: The Ringwalks main event will likely take place around 4am (UK time)
- TV/Live: Sky Sports Arena – Coverage starts at 1.30am. You can stream the fight on the Sky app and if you’re not already a Sky Sports subscriber, you can buy a day pass for £9.99 from NOW
- Undercard highlights: No further fights on the card but Abraham Nova’s match with William Encarnacion is the best move choice
- I Expect: Smith wins by KO
any other business
Amid the ongoing uncertainty after the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) announced that all January fights would be postponed, Chris Eubank Jr. was once again the victim.
A grudge match against Liam Williams was postponed until the end of the month, but then moved again to February 5.
Even that was up in the air due to it happening in Cardiff, but the Welsh government has now relaxed restrictions that have temporarily suspended sporting events indoors.
One fight that seems unlikely at the moment is Dillian Whyte’s challenge for the WBC title against Tyson Fury. The deadline for the camps to reach an initial agreement is January 18 before asking for bids for money.
There is concern from Whyte’s team about the proposed wallet split, as Fury prepares to take the lion’s share home — to put it mildly. Meanwhile, Fury appears to have temporarily switched over to other opponents.