Joe Smith Jr. Crushes Fonfara

By Robert Ecksel on June 18, 2016
Joe Smith Jr. Crushes Fonfara
Joe Smith Jr. was unimpressed by the quality of opposition Andrzej Fonfara had faced.

“I’m happy to take this victory back home to New York to all my fans. Now everybody knows who I am. This is the best thing that could have happened…”

Saturday night at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago, Illinois, Joe Smith Jr. (22-1, 18 KOs), the 14-to-1 underdog from Brookhaven, New York, TKO’d Andrzej Fonfara (28-4, 16 KOs), from Chicago by way of Warsaw, Poland, at 2:32 of the first round to win the WBC International light heavyweight title.

Fighting out of the red corner in green and black trunks, Smith was looking to end it early. Unimpressed by the quality of opposition Fonfara had faced, which included Adonis Stevenson, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., and Nathan Cleverly, he was going for broke at the opening bell.

Fonfara, fighting out of the blue corner in black trunks trimmed with gold, came into the fight ranked #2 by the WBC, #3 by the WBA, and #4 by the WBO. Smith had not lost a fight since 2010, but his opponents were less an assemblage of who’s who than a motley crew of who’s that.

Both fighters traded recklessly in the two-plus minutes the fight lasted. Fonfara was putting some hurt on Smith when he got caught with a right hand that dropped him to the canvas. Rather than taking the count, Fonfara got unsteadily to his feet. Smith smelled blood and went for the kill. Another big right followed by a combination caught Fonfara and down he went again.

The referee, Hector Afu, dispensed with the formality of issuing a 10-count. Fonfara was finished. The ref waved it off and the Upset of the Year was at an end.

“There’s no feeling like this,” said Smith after the fight. “I’m happy to take this victory back home to New York to all my fans. Now everybody knows who I am. This is the best thing that could have happened.

“I expected to go 10 rounds. Andrzej. He’s a great fighter, but I worked real hard, trained harder than I ever have in my life. Each fight I’m working harder and harder. I came here today to prove a point, that I belong here with the best. I proved that tonight. He’s fought the best fighters in the world and no one’s dominated him the way I have.

“Once I started hitting him and pushing him back, he fell away and left himself open for the right hand. He was punching and I knew he leaves himself open. I was just looking for the punch and it landed.

“I thought this would be more of a fight, but I took him out early and it feels great.”

When the shock of having lost to a fighter everyone assumed he would defeat, Fonfara said, “He is a heavy puncher. He hit me with a great punch. It happens. I threw some good punches, but I got too comfortable. I didn’t see the punch coming. That made it a great punch.

“I’m disappointed because I thought I would win the fight. But it is boxing. I will rest and get back in the ring. I’ll get back to work.”

There’s a new kid on the light heavyweight block and his name is Joe Smith Jr.

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Smith Jr. vs Fonfara HIGHLIGHTS: PBC on NBC - June 18, 2016

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  1. Koolz 02:11pm, 06/23/2016

    Amazing Joe Smith seemed hurt then WHAM!  he caught Fonfara perfectly.  Now the question is this, is Joe Smith for real can he beat another outstanding fighter?  Or did he get lucky?
    Is his next fight going to be against one of the top 10 in the division?
    I know we will all be watching him!

  2. KB 05:21am, 06/20/2016

    Joe Smith should fight Seanie Monaghan in the Theatre at Madison Square Garden. They fought in the amateurs. Two upcoming New Yorkers should meet. It is the fight that will decide who is the better New York light heavyweight. Seanie can’t get the title show he is yelling for with Top Rank.

  3. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 07:56am, 06/19/2016

    Wlad needs to take heed and dispense with that “taking turns” fight plan that has worked so well against the short blocky guys he fought throughout his career. In order to deal with that long armed Gypsy he needs to suck it up and punch with the great lummox and not wait his turn.

  4. We Wuz Kangs 06:22am, 06/19/2016

    What is a non-boxer’s image, Jose Suliman, doing on the WBC belt? Kind of like putting Gordon Solie on the rasslin’ NWA belt. Next thing you know, they will be putting Don King or Howard Cossell on championship belts.

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