Joe Smith Jr. of Shirley earns light heavyweight title

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William Floyd graduate Joe Smith Jr. won the vacant WBO light heavyweight championship late Saturday with a majority decision over Maxim Vlasov.

The Shirley man, a 2019 William Floyd Athletic Hall of Fame inductee, rallied in the final two rounds to capture the title, according to fight analysts. The fight’s three judges scored the fight 115-112, 115-113 and 114-114 in favor Smith.

The win, broadcast nationally by ESPN from the Osage Casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma, sets up a potential unification title fight against the undefeated Artur Beterbiev, who holds the IBF and WBC light heavyweight belts.

“I want the other belts,” Smith, nicknamed “The Irish Bomber,” said in a post-fight interview with ESPN. “I want the big fights out there.”

For now, Smith, who got married this winter, can take the honeymoon vacation he postponed in order to train for Vlasov.

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