Those of you who picked “random jabroni,” collect your winnings up front. Keith Idec reports and Dan Rafael confirms that with Callum Johnson sidelined by COVID, Joe Smith Jr. will defend his WBO light heavyweight title on January 15th against unranked Steve Geffrard.
Per DAZN News, Smith’s (27-3, 21 KO) promoters “reached out to numerous fighters, most of whom either turned down the fight or were not on weight.” Geffrard (18-2, 12 KO) was scheduled to face 7-8 Gonzalo Andreasen at Delray Beach tomorrow, so he was in position to accept.
The 31-year-old’s record is deceiving in two ways. For one, he hasn’t tasted defeat since starting his career 0-2. For two, he hasn’t beaten anyone with a pulse; his biggest win came against Dmitry Sukhotskiy in 2016, part of what is now a 1-6 skid for the Russian, and he was last seen beating what’s left of Denis Grachev by eight-round decision in March. BoxRec has him ranked 107th among light heavyweights.
NYSAC could still axe this, as they did Michael Hunter’s laughable attempt to fight Mark De Mori, but I’d be surprised.
If (when) Smith trucks him, he’ll likely have #1 contender Anthony Yarde on deck. He technically hasn’t faced a mandatory yet; Johnson replaced then-#1 Umar Salamov, who ran into visa issues and ultimately lost wide to Dmitry Bivol. He could just go ahead and do the blatantly obvious Artur Beterbiev unification instead, but that would make too much sense.