Joe Smith Jr. Gives Light-Heavyweight Division a Shake Up

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The light heavyweight division has a new face, and his name is Joe Smith, Jr. In one of boxing’s shockers of the year, Star Boxing‘s Long Island knockout artist known as “The Irish Bomber” (22-1, 18 KOs) stunned the heavily-favored power-puncher Andrzej Fonfara (28-4, 16 KOs) with a first round TKO in the scheduled 10-round light heavyweight main event on Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) on NBC on Saturdaynight (June 18) at UIC Pavilion in Chicago.
Smith first floored his opponent with a monstrous, punishing overhand right, and Fonfara was down in the center of the ring. The furious onslaught continued with a flurry of punches that had the hometown favorite Fonfara reeling, culminating with jaw-jarring left hook that had him down a second time, and the bout was halted. Fonfara was unable to withstand the barrage from the concrete fists of the Union 66 construction worker, and referee Hector Afu stopped the annihilation at 2:32 of the opening round. The end result:  Smith’s brutal and perfectly-executed demolition becomes a leading candidate for upset of the year.
“I expected it to go 10 rounds because he’s a great fighter,” an elated Smith told NBC in the ring. “I trained harder for this fight than I ever have, and came here to prove a point that I belong in the ring with the best.
“I was trying to stay on top of him because once I started hitting him, he left himself open,” added Smith. “I caught him with the over hand right. When I see someone hurt, I’m a finisher, and was determined to get him out.
“There’s no feeling like this. I’m happy to take this victory back home to New York to all my fans,” Smith wrapped up later. “Now everybody knows who I am. This is the best thing that could have happened.
Promoter Joe DeGuardia said “I am so proud of Joe.  He worked hard and earned a sensational victory.  He’s a true example of the American spirit.  We’ve been fortunate on Long Island to have seen him at our shows at the Paramount and now the world will be able to witness his rising star first hand.”
Fonfara was eyeing a rematch with the WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson, who he lost two in a close decision two year ago. Fonfara had beaten both Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Nathan Cleverly before Smith foiled his plans.
Representing Long Island, New York, Smith Jr. was making his national television debut and it was a beauty. It was his 16th straight victory.
The 26-year-old was a highly decorated amateur who won the 2008 New York Golden Gloves with a victory over Seanie Monaghan. A member of the Local 66 Laborers Union between fights and the oldest of eight siblings, Smith Jr. by far picked up his most impressive victory of his career.

Andrzej Fonfara & Nathan Cleverly Get Ready to Lock Horns Oct. 16

CHICAGO (August 27, 2015) – Bruising Polish star Andrzej Fonfara (27-3, 16 KOs) and former world champion Nathan Cleverly (29-2, 15 KOs) will meet in a 12-round light heavyweight battle as Premier Boxing Champions on Spike returns to UIC Pavilion in Chicago on Friday, October 16, with televised coverage beginning at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
 
Fonfara, a fan-favorite in Chicago, will be fighting at UIC Pavilion for the 14th time in his career and is fresh off a stunning performance against former world champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in April of this year. He steps up again to fight a top light heavyweight in former world champion Cleverly and if he can get by this stiff test, he will be in a position to face all of the other top light heavyweights in this talent rich division.  
 
“I’m excited to return to my hometown of Chicago on this big fight night against a world class fighter like Nathan Cleverly,” said Fonfara. “This will be a tough fight for both of us. Cleverly is a solid fighter and it’s no fluke that he was a world champion and that he defended his belt so many times. Our fighting styles guarantee that everyone can expect fireworks on October 16th. I want this fight to be a quick stop on my way to a rematch with Adonis Stevenson.”
 
“This is a major platform for me to prove that I am more than capable of becoming world champion again,” said Cleverly. “If I beat Fonfara it’s a doorway fight to the world title and establishing myself as one of the best light heavyweights once again. Fonfara is a good fighter. He’s tall, has power and has moved up through the levels in his career. I am looking forward to coming over to Chicago and I am very confident that our styles will blend well for a really exciting fight.
 
“Spike has been the home to some of boxing’s most exciting bouts of 2015 including Marco Huck vs. Krzysztof Glowacki and Andre Berto vs. Josesito Lopez,” said Jon Slusser, Senior Vice President, Sports, Spike. “We feel this trend will continue as Andrzej Fonfara vs. Nathan Cleverly is an equally matched fight that will bring a ton of action.”
 
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Warriors Boxing in association with Matchroom Boxing, are priced at $151, $101, $51, $41 and $31, not including applicable service charges, and are on sale now. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000 or UIC Pavilion Box Office at (312) 413-5740. Tickets are also available at www.ticketmaster.com or by visiting the UIC Pavilion Box Office (Thursday or Friday 9:00 a.m.. – 4:00 p.m.).
 
Born in Warsaw, Poland, but fighting now out of Chicago, Fonfara will look to take advantage of a supportive atmosphere on October 16 as he returns to UIC Pavilion. After racking up victories over Tommy Karpency, Gabriel Campillo and Doudou Ngumbu, the 27-year-old took down his biggest name when he stopped Chavez Jr. in the ninth-round on April 18. With 13 of his last 15 wins coming by way of knockout, Fonfara will no doubt deliver a great fight for fans on October 16.
 
A former world champion with a strong resume that includes victories over Tony Bellew, Karo Murat, Tommy Karpency and Nadjib Mohammedi, the Welsh Cleverly hopes to make an impact in his third career fight in the U.S. The 28-year-old made five defenses of his light heavyweight crown and is coming off of an early stoppage of Tomas Man in May.
 
For more information visit www.premierboxingchampions.com, www.spike.com/shows/premier-boxing-champions, follow on Twitter @PremierBoxing, @Andrzej_Fonfara, @NathanClev, @WarriorsBoxProm and @SpikeTV and become a fan on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/PremierBoxing, www.Facebook.com/WarriorsBoxingPromo and www.Facebook.com/Spike.

David Lemieux Confirmed Co-Feature for Stevenson-Fonfara May 24

MONTREAL (March 27, 2014)- The 2013 “Fighter of the Year,” according to The Ring Magazine and many other boxing publications, as well as the recipient of the prestigious “KO of the Year” award, Adonis “Superman” Stevenson ( 23-1-0, 20 KOs ) returns to the ring May 24 at Bell Centre in Montreal to defend his World Boxing Council (WBC), The Ring and lineal light heavyweight titles for the third time against challenger Andrzej Fonfara (25-2-0, 15KO ).

Born in Warsaw, Poland and now fighting out of Chicago, Illinois, Fonfara is rated No. 1 by the International Boxing Federation (IBF) and World Boxing Organization (WBO), as well as No. 3 by the WBC.

The world light heavyweight title fight between Stevenson and Fonfara headlines, “COLLISION,” which is presented by Groupe Yvon Michel (GYM), in association with Warriors Boxing, and co-presented of Mise-O-Jeu and Videotron. As previously announced this fascinating boxing event will air live in the USA on Showtime, thanks to Mr. Stephen Espinoza, its Executive Vice President & General Manager, Sports and Event Programming.

“Superman’s 2013 was a year well beyond all predictions, beyond all imagination so tremendous it was,” GYM president Yvon Michel said. “He rose to the ranks of international superstar, considered to be the best light heavyweight on the planet! It is a privilege to see him in action again here in Montreal.”

Stevenson, 36, won his world light heavyweight title via knockout in only 76 seconds of then-undisputed light heavyweight champion, “Bad” Chad Dawson (31-3-0, 17 KOs). In his first title defense on September 28, 2014, the new champion was supposed to face a major test against former world champion Tavoris “Thunder” Cloud (24-1-0, 19 KOs). It was quite different, however, as the powerful left-hander pushed Cloud until he retired at the end of the seventh round, after Stevenson gave him a thorough boxing lesson. Stevenson gave a brilliant demonstration of skills, finesse, speed, defense, and power. Two months later, “Superman” completed his dream year with an unequivocal defeat of the WBC No. 1 mandatory contender from Great Britain, Tony ‘Bomber’ Bellew (20-1-1, 12 KOs), who was unable to finish the sixth round. The tough Englishman later declared that he had never been hit with such powerful shots, even by heavyweights.

During his incredibly amazing run, the powerful southpaw Stevenson has knocked out all 10 of his last 10 opponents: Bellew (TKO6), Cloud ( TKO7 ), Dawson (KO1), Darnell Boone (KO6), Don George (TKO12), Noe Gonzales ( TKO2 ), Jesus Gonzales (KO1), Aaron Pryor Jr. (TKO9 ), Shujaa El Amin TKO1) and Derek Edwards (KO3). In fact, the last time a Stevenson fight went the full distance dates back to 2007.

The 26-year-old Fonfara has had spectacular victories over three former world champions in his last five fights. First, by third-round technical knockout in 2012 against former WBA monarch Byron Mitchell (29-9-1, 22 KOs), followed by a 10-round decision over multiple champion Glen Johnson (51-16-2, 35 KOs), and then last year a ninth-round stoppage of former WBA title-holder Gabriel Campillo (22-5-1, 9 KOs).

Fonfara has won his last 15 fights, 12 by knockout, and he has never been defeated fighting as a light heavyweight. He had discussions to face WBO champion Sergey Kovalev and he could have fought to become mandatory challenger to IBF champion Bernard Hopkins. Fonfara preferred to fight Stevenson because he is convinced that he has the right style and resources to overthrow the world champion. According to American journalist Briggs Seekins, “Fonfara has power in both hands and undoubtedly belongs to the elite of the division. It is certainly the most serious test of Stevenson title defense.”

Other fights on the “COLLISION” card will be announced in the coming days but GYM is committed to presenting another memorable event. GYM does confirm that the IBF No. 10, WBO No. 11 and WBC No. 16 middleweight David Lemieux (31-2-0, 29 KOs) will be in the co-feature for the most important fight of his career. WBO No. 2, WBA No. 3 and WBC No. 10 world light heavyweight contender Eleider Alvarez (14-0-0, 8 KOs) will be in action May 24, along with rising light heavyweight star Artur Beterbiev (4-0-0, 4 KOs), IBF No. 7 middleweight Kevin Bizier (24-1-0, 14 KOs), heavyweight prospect Oscar Rivas (13-0-0, 8 KOs ), super middleweight Sébastien Bouchard (8-0-0, 2 KOs), and young welterweight Yves Ulysse Jr. (1-0-0, 1 KOs).