NEW YORK CITY: “The Common Man”, Joe Smith Jr., (23-1, 19 KO’s), boxing’s best story of 2016, will make his first start of the new year, defending his WBC International Light Heavyweight Title against world ranked Sullivan Barrera, (19-1, 14 KO’s) on Friday, July 15 from the iconic, Fabulous Forum in Los Angeles and live on HBO’s Boxing After Dark (9:50 p.m. ET/PT).
Smith vs. Barrera is presented by Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing® in association with Main Events.
The 27-year-old Smith of Long Island, New York said, “I’m thrilled to be back on HBO against another top light heavyweight, Sullivan Barrera, I’ve already started training and will be ‘more than ready’ on July 15. There’s a number of great fighters in our division and I’m looking forward to another victory on my way to a world title shot.”
“This is a great opportunity for me. I want to thank my entire team for making this happen. I respect Joe for taking this fight. He is a great fighter and I have a tough test on July 15. I will work hard to put on a great show for all the fans,” stated Barrera.
“This should be a spectacular fight,” said Joe DeGuardia, President and CEO of Star Boxing. “Over the past few months many have refused to fight Joe Smith Jr., so I give credit to Sullivan Barrera, who, like Joe, is a tough fighter willing to fight anyone. Joe’s captivating rise as a humble working-class ‘Common Man’ has resonated with sports fans all over the world and I look forward to being at the Forum on HBO as Joe and Sullivan battle for the future.”
Kathy Duva, CEO of Main Events, stated, “This is a really interesting fight. It is a can’t miss because Barrera and Smith are both finishers. We are all eager to see how this plays out and I give credit to both men for wanting a challenge.”
Smith bursted onto the international boxing scene last June, knocking out the highly favored, former world title challenger, Andrzej Fonfara in the first round of a nationally televised contest from the Pole’s hometown of Chicago.
Six months later Smith challenged future Hall of Famer Bernard Hopkins at the Fabulous Forum and live on HBO. Dominating the legend on December 17 through the first seven rounds, the construction laborer Smith drilled Hopkins to the canvas and out of the ring earning the knockout in the eighth round.
Barrera is riding a two bout knockout streak with victories over Paul Parker on April 15 and Vyacheslav Shabaranskyy on December 16, 2016. His only loss was to light heavyweight champion Andre Ward in March 2016.