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Joe Smith Jr and Abraham Nova Victorious by TKOs at Turning Stone

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  • Joe Smith Jr and Abraham Nova Victorious by TKOs at Turning Stone

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    By Arne k. Lang

    Top Rank was at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, New York, tonight with a 5-bout card that had to be refashioned after both of the original B-side opponents in the featured bouts were forced to pull out. In the case of Callum Johnson, the harpoon came in the form of a positive Covid test. In stepped little-known Steve Geffrard who replaced Johnson on eight days notice and stood to win the lottery if he could upend Joe Smith Jr who would be making the first defense of his WBO world light heavyweight title.

    Geffrard, now 18-3, came in riding an 18-fight winning streak. Despite being relatively inactive, having sat out all of 2017, 2019, and 2020, his impressive amateur pedigree suggested that he might make things interesting. But he did not. Seemingly more interested in protecting his face with his peek-a-boo defense than with swapping punches, he rendered a hollow effort, losing every round prior to being stopped in the ninth frame.

    The end came at the 37-second mark as Geffrard, trapped in a neutral corner, slumped to his knees after absorbing a barrage of unanswered punches. As referee Mark Nelson was counting him out, his corner stepped in and stopped it.

    Long Island’s Smith Jr improved to 28-3 (22). Speculation as to who he will fight next centers around WBC/IBF title-holder Artur Beterbiev and WBO mandatory opponent Anthony Yarde. Promoter Bob Arum is purportedly interested in staging a unification fight between Smith and the undefeated (17-0, 17 KOs) Beterbiev at Madison Square Garden this summer. If Covid protocols were to be lifted, a fight between the New Yorker and the Russian-Canadian has the potential to sell out the Garden’s big room.

    Co-Feature

    In the semi-windup, Abraham Nova, ranked #3 by the WBO at 130 pounds but now competing as a featherweight, scored a TKO over William Encarnacion whose corner stopped the bout at the 55-second mark of round eight. Nova, who is from Carolina, Puerto Rico, resides in Albany, New York, and is trained by Whitman, Massachusetts middleweight “Bazooka” Mark DeLuca, advanced his record to 21-0 with his 15th win inside the distance. Encarnacion declined to 19-2.

    After a fairly even opening round, Nova, 28, took control. He had the higher workrate and landed the heavier shots and was well ahead at the time of the stoppage although there were no knockdowns. After the bout, he called out Emanuel Navarette, challenging the WBO featherweight title-holder in both English and Spanish. It was the U.S. debut for Encarnacion, a 2012 Olympian for the Dominican Republic who was subbing for Mexicali’s Jose Enrique Vivas who reportedly suffered an injury in training.

    In an undercard fight of note, hot prospect Jahi Tucker, an 18-year-old welterweight, improved to 6-0 (4) with a second-round stoppage of Milwaukee’s Akeem Black (6-5). Tucker was dominant from the opening bell. Black hadn’t previously been stopped.

    Photo credit: Mikey Williams / Top Rank via Getty Images

    Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel

  • #2
    Smith mixed his punches skillfully and then opened up at the right times.

    Once again, however, the commentating was dreadful as someone said, "All Joe is doing is fighting down to his level of competition." This was right before the fight ended as Jow was pummeling his hapless opponent. Trying to make horse crap smell like roses is getting terribly stale.

    Comment


    • #3
      I like Joe Smith. He’s a skilled mauler.

      I’d like to see him get a crack at Canelo.

      Comment

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