Joe Smith Jr. (22-1 18KO) proved he wasn’t just your average Joe last night with a surprise 1st round knockout of Andrzej Fonfara (28-3 16KO). The round led off as most analysts expected with Fonfara pushing the action, throwing punches in bunches at Smith. He landed a punch that appeared to stun Smith and abandoned his defense to try to punish him. This proved to be a critical error in his game plan as Smith landed a thunderous right hand to Fonfara’s chin that dropped the Polish fighter. Fonfara made it back to his feet before the count of ten, but was quickly pounced upon by Smith, forcing the referee to halt the fight before the first round ended.
“I expected to go ten rounds. Andrzej, he’s a great fighter.” Smith said post fight, “I worked real hard. I 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 in here with the best, and I proved that tonight.” With the win, Smith finds himself in a position to get those big fights by ascending into the top 10 rankings of the light-heavyweight(175lb) division.
Also on the card, three time U.S. Olympian Rau’shee Warren (14-1 4KO) became the first boxer from the 2012 U.S. Olympic team to win a world title, claiming the WBA Bantamweight Title with a majority decision win over Juan Carlos Payano (17-1 7KO). Warren used superior movement and sharp counter punching to thwart Payano’s offense. By mid fight, Payano seemed to have no answer to Warren’s defensive skills. From round 8 forward, Warren looked to be fading, making for an interesting end to the fight. Both pugilists landed significant punches, and gave back as much as they took.
In other results on the card, the 20-year old Erickson Lubin(15-0 11KO) continues his campaign at junior middleweight with a third round KO of Daniel Sandoval(38-4 35KO). In the final fight of the night, Maciej Sulacki(23-0 8KO) scored a huge upset knockout over Hugo Centeno Jr.(24-1 12KO). What was thought to be a mismatch proved to be completely different, as Sulacki controlled the majority of the fight with a disciplined jab.
Another good card broadcast on local TV under the Premier Boxing Champions(PBC) banner. Next weekend, look forward to a welterweight title bout between Keith “One Time” Thurman(26-0 22KO) and “Showtime” Shawn Porter.