“It’s true the division is truly heating up and I’m honored to be a part of it,” said 27-year-old light heavyweight contender Joe Smith Jr. (23-1-0, 19 KOs), who faces Sullivan Barrera (19-1-0, 14 KOs) July 15 on HBO at The Fabulous Forum in Los Angeles. “The winner of my upcoming fight moves right into the top of the mix in the division. With my last two knockouts (Bernard Hopkins and Andrzej Fonfara) I have the full confidence that the sky is the limit for me in this division, I want to achieve my dream of becoming a world champion.”
Smith still works full-time as a union laborer in the New York City area. He only takes a short break from wielding the sledgehammer when he finalizes training for his fights.
Until recently, Smith had never even been on live television.
“When the opportunity came to fight Andrzej Fonfara we believed as a team that Joe was ready and he was spectacular in the first round knockout victory,” said promoter Joe DeGuardia. “The same with fighting Bernard Hopkins, it was a great opportunity and Joe put on another star-making performance. With the Sullivan Barrera fight, the stakes are even higher but we feel this is another great opportunity for Joe, back on HBO which has built many stars over the last forty years.”