Joe Smith Jr’s battle with Steve Geffrard for the world light heavyweight championship will be televised live on Sky Sports Sunday morning.
The fight in New York will begin at 1am in the early hours of Sunday and will give Smith Jr a chance to justify himself as the world’s best 175-pound fighter.
Smith Jr’s WBO belt is in play against short-notice opponent Geffrard, Britain’s replacement Callum Johnson who was forced to retire because he tested positive for Covid-19.
The Long Island Smith Jr is best known for sending boxing legend Bernard Hopkins crashing into the ropes and inflicting his only stoppage defeat in his final fight.
He aims to assert his authority over Artur Beterbiev (IBF and WBC champion) and Dmitry Bivol (WBA) as top dog in the light heavyweight division.
Undefeated Beterbiev scored a landslide stoppage win over Marcus Browne last month.
Pound-for-pound boxing superstar Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez could be an unlikely incentive for Smith Jr.
“Canelo has expressed interest in me fighting Beterbiev or Joe Smith Jr,” their promoter Bob Arum told Sky Sports.
“I can’t wait for May or September, the two dates that Canelo likes to fight, that he would fight with one of those light heavyweights.”
Sky Sport Boxing Program
Sunday January 16th – Top Rank in New York
Joe Smith Jr vs. Steve Geffrard – WBO light heavyweight title
Sunday 30th January – Top Rank in Tulsa
Robson Conceicao vs Xavier Martinez – WBC super featherweight title eliminator
Saturday 5th February (targeted) – BOXXER in Cardiff
Chris Eubank Jr versus Liam Williams
Claressa Shields vs Ema Kozin – IBF, WBA and WBC middleweight titles
Sunday 6th February – Top Rank in Fresno
Jose Ramirez against Jose Pedraza
Saturday 19th February – BOXXER in Manchester
Amir Khan vs Kell Brook
Saturday 26 February – BOXXER and Top Rank in Glasgow
Josh Taylor vs Jack Catterall – undisputed superlight titles