Joe Smith Jr. outpoints Vlasov for WBO title

TULSA, OKLAHOMA - APRIL 10: Joe Smith Jr stands inside the ring before his fight against Maxim Vlasov for the WBO light heavyweight title at the Osage Casino on April 10, 2021 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

TULSA, OKLAHOMA – APRIL 10: Joe Smith Jr stands inside the ring prior to his battle versus Maxim Vlasov for the WBO light heavyweight title at the Osage Gambling Establishment on April 10, 2021 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (Image by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc by means of Getty Images)

When Joe Smith Jr. lastly takes his honeymoon, about 2 months behind he initially prepared, he’ll do it as the WBO light heavyweight champ.

Smith finished his increase from union worker to world champ on Saturday in Tulsa, Oklahoma, when he got rid of a figured out effort by Russian Maxim Vlasov to win a bulk choice.

Ratings were 115-113, 115-112 and 114-114 for Smith. Yahoo Sports had it 114-114.

“It’s a great feeling,” Smith stated. “It was definitely a close, tough, tough fight. Vlasov is a great fighter and he really put on a great show tonight and toughed it out. In that [11th] round I hurt him, I believe he stuck his head down and I should have gotten the knockdown. I believe I would have gotten the stoppage. … I landed the bigger, harder shots, but he landed a lot of punches, too. It was a great fight.”

Smith won the bout with an amazing rally in the last 2 rounds, landing 84 power shots over the last 6 minutes.

The males kept a mad speed from the start, with Vlasov regularly standing straight in front of the heavy-handed Smith. Vlasov frequently battled with his hands at his sides, however he had excellent head-and-shoulder motion and kept tossing punches which kept Smith briefly at bay.

Smith likewise was cut around his left eye by a right-hand man in the preliminary that triggered him issues throughout the battle.

However whatever that Smith tossed was hard, and the punches started to take their toll on Vlasov by the midpoint of the battle.

The males were initially expected to combat in Las Vegas on Feb. 13, however Vlasov evaluated favorable for COVID-19 and the battle was delayed. Smith got wed on Valentine’s Day in Las Vegas, however rather of going out onto his honeymoon, he decided to remain and train.

It was a fortuitous choice, due to the fact that the unheralded Vlasov pertained to battle and required Smith to react in kind.

Smith, who ended the famous Bernard Hopkins’ Hall of Popularity profession in 2016 by knocking him out of the ring, never ever slowed and kept capturing Vlasov with huge shots.

Smith harmed Vlasov for the very first time with a huge right cross in the 3rd, however his very first excellent chance to end it can be found in the seventh. He harmed Vlasov terribly with a left, and followed up with a right. Smith poured it on, but Vlasov showed the benefit of his 49 bouts over 16 years as a pro by finding a way to survive.

Remarkably, Vlasov not only survived the seventh, he came back with huge rounds in the eighth and ninth and harmed Smith with a right to the head late in the ninth. Vlasov seemed to have the fight in hand after the 10th.

Smith hurt Vlasov terribly in the 11th with a body shot and after a flurry of punches, dropped the Russian to one knee. But referee Gary Ritter ruled no knockdown because the punch was to the back of the head, which replays revealed was the correct call.

However the delay to allow Vlasov to recover from the punch may have saved him, as he was in dire jeopardy.

Smith, though, went out like a champion in the 12th and due to the fact that of that, he’ll go on his honeymoon, lastly, as a champ.

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Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.