It didn’t go to plan for Joe Smith Jr.
The WBO light heavyweight champ from Shirley lost his belt Saturday after being defeated by WBC-IBF title holder Artur Beterbiev.
Beterbiev continued his perfect knockout streak (18-0, 18 KOs) after taking down fellow knockout specialist Smith Jr. in the second round via a TKO finish in front of 4,500-plus at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden.
It was only the second time the Long Islander had been knocked out in his pro career. He took to social media today to discuss the fight saying, “he lost focus” after an early punch connected behind his ear knocking off his equilibrium.
That strike threw him off his game plan. He continued to press forward but was met by impressive counter striking by the Russian-Canadian boxer.
“No excuses I should have took a deep breath, relaxed and go back to boxing,” he said. “I just wanted to fight which lead me into the same traps.”
Because the 32-year-old wasn’t able to recover in time, the referee called the fight after he fell to the canvas for the third time in the first two rounds.
What’s next for the Beast from the East? Here’s what he said of his future.
“I would have loved to bring home all the titles for you all,” he wrote to his fans. “I am going to take some time, stay in shape and decide what the future holds for me.”
See the full post below.
Top: Joe Smith Jr., left, punches Artur Beterbiev during the second round of a light heavyweight boxing bout Saturday, June 18, 2022, in New York. Beterbiev won in the second round. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)