- Joe Smith Jr MD-12 Maxim Vlasov (114-114, 115-113, 115-112) [Highlights and recap]
- Efe Ajagba KO-3 Brian Howard (1:29) [Highlights and recap]
- Jared Anderson KO-2 Jeremiah Karpency (0:34)
- Albert Bell UD-8 Manuel Rey Rojas (78-74, 78-74, 78-74)
- Robson Conceicao TKO-7 Jesus Antonio Ahumada (1:20)
- Trey Lippe Morrison TKO-3 Jason Bergman (1:27)
- Duke Ragan UD-6 Charles Clark (60-54, 60-54, 60-54)
- Jeremiah Milton TKO-1 Jayvone Dafney (1:19)
- Sonny Conto KO-1 Waldo Cortes (1:41)
Round By Round
Joe Smith Jr vs Maxim Vlasov
Round 1: Vlasov comes out with a number of quick jabs and Smith tries to respond in kind. Big right hook misses from Smith. Left lands to the body for Vlasov this time. Vlasov tries to keep Smith at range by pushing his jab more than snapping it. Short left hand lands for Vlasov. Now Vlasov lands to the body. Right hand lands over the top for Smith and Vlasov immediately holds — Smith is warned that punch landed behind the head. Vlasov getting off first and using his awkward rhythm to make Smith hesitate a bit. Right hand lands over the top for Vlasov. Left hook makes contact for Smith. Short combination comes from Vlasov but doesn’t land clean. Right hand lead lands for Vlasov before Smith can’t get his shot off. Vlasov 10-9.
Round 2: Smith comes out to meet Vlasov but Vlasov gets his punches off first and is letting his combinations flow. Smith tries to add a hook in between Vlasov’s punches and makes some contact. Smith is going to have to throw with Vlasov who is much more fluid with his punches. Right hand lands for Vlasov and Smith has a mark under his left eye already. Smith goes down on a slip. Jab and right hand lands for Vlasov, who’s speed is giving Smith some real trouble. Right hand lands for Smith and Vlasov tries to hold immediately to stop any momentum. Smith is bleeding around his left eye now, dripping down his face. Both fighters trade and land. Right hook lands to the body for Smith. Long left hand lands again for Vlasov, then a right to the body moments later. Super fast pace for a light heavyweight fight. Big right hand lands for Smith and Vlasov really felt that one. Vlasov 10-9, 20-18.
Round 3: Smith tries a jab that doesn’t land, the next does a bit better. Both fighters get tangled at center ring forcing a break. Right hand lands for Smith who tries to follow it up with some homerun shots that don’t land. Left hand from Smith lands low but the referee doesn’t see it. Smith lands a jab but Vlasov throws three back. Smith tries a left uppercut that doesn’t land well but Vlasov gets one of his own back. Jab from Vlasov picks off Smith. Smith lands a right to the body. Right hand lands for Vlasov again with his flowing punches. It looks like Smith needs to land a fight changing punch because he can’t box with Vlasov. Vlasov 10-9.
Round 4: Both fighters come out jabbing. Smith tries a left hook that makes partial contact but Vlasov throws a few punches in return and he’s just touching Smith more often. Right hand lands over the top for Vlasov. Right hook lands clean for Vlasov and Smith tries to muster up all his power by throwing several hard hooks in return to back Vlasov off of him. Vlasov starts coming back forward on Smith who is retreating to the ropes now. Right hand lands to the body well for Smith and Vlasov holds to stop Smith from capitalizing any further. Straight right lands to the body for Vlasov. Uppercut and hook misses badly for Smith. Big right hook from Smith misses again and Vlasov makes him pay for it. Vlasov 10-9, 40-36.
Round 5: Vlasov tries to line up his combinations right away and has Smith on the ropes. Smith just can’t keep up with the speed of Vlasov. Left to the body lands for Smith on the inside. Left to the body lands for Vlasov this time. Vlasov lands a lead right uppercut on Smith. Short right hook lands for Vlasov again and Smith is just largely overwhelmed. Right hand lands for Vlasov, Smith lands one too. Vlasov lands a jab and has Smith in the corner but now Smith lands a hard right hand that gets him back to center ring. Vlasov is just largely working Smith over and just needs to avoid taking a knockout shot from Smith. Vlasov 10-9.
Round 6: Right hand to the body comes from Smith to start the round. Vlasov stalking and Smith is trying to boxing his way around the ring just to find some reprieve — which tells you all you need to know about how this fight is going for him. Vlasov lands some shots while coming forward, scoring even if not doing tremendous damage with any singular shot. Double left hand lands for Vlasov, then a nice counter right hand moments later. Short uppercut lands for Smith and now Vlasov is bleeding a bit from his mouth. Right hand lands for Vlasov behind a jab. Lead left uppercut lands for Vlasov this time. Vlasov 10-9, 60-54.
Round 7: Vlasov stalking and Smith on the back foot trying to walk Vlasov into a big shot if he can manage it. Left hand lands clean for Vlasov. Now Smith lands a shot that shakes up Vlasov and Smith tries to jump on the opportunity as Vlasov tries his best to hold on until he recovers. Smith touches the body with a hook. Smith’s punch selection leaves a lot to be desired here. Counter right lands for Vlasov, who then ties Smith up. Smith lands two right hooks to the body and gets warned for the one that follows. Big right hand lands for Smith this time but Vlasov seems to take that one pretty well. Left hook lands for Smith this time. Smith 10-9.
Round 8: Smith is the one coming forward now, feeling like he’s got Vlasov in a compromised state. Left lands to the body for Smith. Now Smith throws a bunch of jabs in quick succession and Vlasov holds on. Jab lands clean for Smith. Both fighters trade and land. Vlasov doubles his left hook and has Smith not he ropes for a moment and Smith tries to hook off of it. Left hand lands for Vlasov and Smith tries a couple uppercuts. Now Vlasov lands a good right to the body. Vlasov takes a right hand off the ropes from Smith but comes back forward but can’t get much done in this sequence. Vlasov comes forward and lands another counter right. Vlasov 10-9, 79-73.
Round 9: Smith comes forward and misses on a big left hook lead. Jab lands for Vlasov. Right hand from Vlasov glances off Smith upstairs. Vlasov comes forward and lands a few punches to the head and body. Vlasov getting off first while Smith looking for a perfect opportunity. Right hand lands up close for Smith but Vlasov throws a combination in return. Vlasov backs Smith to a corner and lands two before Smith throws a lumbering hook over the top that misses. Right hook lands for Vlasov, backing smith to the ropes again. Vlasov 10-9.
Round 10: Smith misses on two punches to start the round. Vlasov comes forward and Smith smothers him as he gets abcked to the ropes. RIght hand from Smith falls short and Vlasov comes back forward and lands a couple. Double left lands for Vlasov. Right hand from Vlasov just misses over the top. Straight right lands clean for Vlasov this time. Right hand continues to land for Vlasov as Smith’s left eye is in bad condition. Vlasov throws a combination that’s not all that effective but he’s got Smith on the defensive. RIght hook from Smith shakes up Vlasov for a second but Vlasov holds on. Vlasov 10-9, 99-91.
Round 11: Smith comes out coming forward but walks into straight shots from Vlasov. Smith seems to know he has only these last two rounds left and is going to try to make a go of it. Left hand from Smith lands to the body. Right hand from Smith misses upstairs. Jab lands clean for Vlasov, who then ties up Smith. Smith back in the corner and Vlasov probes with his jab but gets tied up on the ropes. Left lands well to the body for Smith. Right hand from Smith lands to the body and hurts Vlasov who ties up yet again. Vlasov might be on shaky legs as Smith comes forward winging big hooks. Smith goes down but it’s ruled a punch to the back of the head. Referee calls timeout for Vlasov to recover. Vlasov gets up and takes a breather in his corner. Back to action and Smith can’t take advantage because the bell rings immediately. Smith 10-9.
Round 12: Last chance for Smith to turn things around it would seem, and he looks like he’s got Vlasov wilting. Smith comes out and tries to throw and Vlasov ties him up quickly. Left hook lands for Smith. Vlasov lands a right uppercut. Smith laods up on two big hooks that miss. Right lands hard to the body for Smith. Smith lands two more punches to the head of Vlasov, who again tries to tie up and walk Smith back to the ropes. Jab lands for Smith. Right hand lands clean for Smith, then a left. Right hand lands for Smith again right down the middle. Smith misses the next right hand but lands a grazing left hook. Vlasov ties up and pushes Smith back to the ropes, forcing a break. Right hand lands clean for Smith, then an uppercut on the inside. Vlasov comes forward and tries to throw with Smith to end the fight. I’ve got this round for Smith 10-9, but I’ve got the fight for Vlasov 117-111.
Efe Ajagba vs Brian Howard
Round 1: Ajagba takes center ring and leads with a hook that misses. Ajagba tries a jab to the body. Right hand from Howard makes contact after leading with a jab that fell short. Left hook misses again for Ajagba. Hard right hand lands to the body for Howard. Ajagba presses forward and misses on a straight right aimed at the head before getting tied up with Howard. Left just misses for Ajagba, then a right. Howard ducks two more shots from Ajagba. Hard right hand from Ajagba shakes up Howard! Howard ties up in the corner. Ajagba coming forward again and lands another right hand upstairs. Howard won’t last long taking those shots. Now Howard misses no a big right. Ajagba 10-9.
Round 2: Ajagba jabs to the body to start the round. Howard tries to return the favor before sweeping a right hook as he tries to earn some respect from Ajagba. Ajagba lands two shots as Howard is along the ropes. The problem for Howard here is that Ajagba is visibly bigger and stronger and it’s clear his shots are much more damaging, forcing Howard to retreat to the ropes more than he probably wants. Check hook makes a little contact for Howard. Ajagba jabs to the body again. Right hand from Ajagba makes grazing contact — he’s been trying to hide it by drawing Howard’s guard down low. Hard jab lands to the body for Ajagba. Right hand lands for Howard upstairs. Right hand from Howard makes partial contact to the body. Now Howard tries to roll a combination from Ajagba. Ajagba 10-9, 20-18.
Round 3: Ajagba double jabs but doesn’t make much contact. Now Howard tries to smother Ajagba and get some shots off on the inside. Jab to the body lands for Ajagba. Right hand from Howard falls short. Ajagba continues to work a jab to the body and LANDS A KILLER RIGHT HAND TO THE HEAD THAT PUTS HOWARD OUT COLD! CLEAR KO OF THE YEAR CONTENDER. AJAGBA KO-3.
Tonight on ESPN+ and ESPN — as well as BoxNation in the UK — Joe Smith Jr and Maxim Vlasov headline Top Rank’s first non-bubble card in over a year, fighting for the vacant WBO light heavyweight title in Tulsa.
Wil Esco will be on the round-by-round call at 10 pm ET for the main card, which also features heavyweight Efe Ajagba facing Brian Howard.
How to Watch Smith vs Vlasov
Smith is coming off of a career year in 2020, when he beat Jesse Hart and Eleider Alvarez back-to-back, while Vlasov hasn’t fought since Nov. 2019 and recently had a positive COVID test, which pushed this fight back from its February date.
Prelim action starts at 5:30 pm ET on ESPN+ and features Jared Anderson, Robson Conceicao, Albert Bell, Sonny Conto, Duke Ragan, and more.
Undercard (ESPN+, 5:30 pm ET)
- Jared Anderson (8-0, 8 KO) vs Jeremiah Karpency (16-2-1, 6 KO), heavyweights, 8 rounds
- Albert Bell (17-0, 5 KO) vs Manuel Rey Rojas (20-4, 6 KO), junior lightweights, 8 rounds
- Robson Conceicao (15-0, 7 KO) vs Jesus Antonio Ahumada (17-3, 11 KO), junior lightweights, 8 rounds
- Trey Lippe Morrison (16-0, 16 KO) vs Jason Bergman (27-19-2, 18 KO), heavyweights, 8 rounds
- Duke Ragan (3-0, 1 KO) vs Charles Clark (3-6-1, 1 KO), featherweights, 6 rounds
- Jeremiah Milton (2-0, 2 KO) vs Jayvone Dafney (2-2, 2 KO), heavyweights, 4 rounds
- Sonny Conto (6-0, 5 KO) vs Waldo Cortes (6-3, 3 KO), heavyweights, 4 rounds
Main Card (ESPN and ESPN+, 10:00 pm ET)
- Joe Smith Jr (26-3, 21 KO) vs Maxim Vlasov (45-3, 26 KO), light heavyweights, 12 rounds, for vacant WBO title
- Efe Ajagba (14-0, 11 KO) vs Brian Howard (15-4, 12 KO), heavyweights, 10 rounds