Smith Vlasov compete for vacant WBO Light Heavyweight Title
BoxNation and Premier Sports have today announced live coverage of the rescheduled fight between Joe Smith Jr. (26-3, 21 KOs) and Maxim Vlasov (45-3, 26 KOs) for the vacant WBO Light Heavyweight Title in Tulsa, OK including top heavyweight prospect Efe Ajagba in the co-feature. Vlasov had to pull out last month when he tested positive for Covid-19 but having recovered, the fight with Smith Jr is back on and scheduled for April 10th.
Smith, the 31-year-old native hailing from Long Island, rose to prominence when he brutally knocked out the legendary Bernard Hopkins in 2016. In 2020, he began the year off with a split-decision victory over Jesse Hart and ended it with another vicious knockout victory over former world champion Eleider Alvarez.
34-year-old Vlasov, meanwhile, is a veteran of the sport who previously established himself as a contender in the Cruiserweight division, where he challenged for an interim world title. Since moving down to Light Heavyweight, he’s gone 3-0, knocking out Omar Garcia before scoring back-to-back decision victories over Issac Chilemba and Emmanuel Martey.
In the 10-round co-feature, unbeaten heavyweight contender Efe Ajagba will take on Brian “MVP” Howard. Ajagba (14-0, 11 KOs), a 2016 Nigerian Olympian, is one of world boxing’s most accomplished young heavyweights. At 26 years old, he’s already knocked out the likes of longtime contender Amir Mansour and former world title challenger Razvan Cojanu. He made his Top Rank debut last September and outlasted veteran Jonathan Rice via decision over 10 rounds. Howard (15-4, 12 KOs) is an 11-year pro who has split a pair of bouts since moving up to heavyweight. In August 2019, he knocked out 2008 Puerto Rican Olympian Carlos Negron in the first round.
New customers signing up to watch this event can do so easily via the Premier Sports website. More upcoming fights for April and May are expected to be announced shortly.