Smith-Vlasov and Efe Ajagba-Brian Howard heavyweight bout to air live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes & ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT
Undercard fights, including the return of heavyweight sensation Jared “The Real Big Baby” Anderson, will stream live on ESPN+ at 5:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. PT
CLICK HERE for Photos
Courtesy: Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images
TULSA, OK (April 8, 2021) — Joe Smith Jr., the small business owner and former union construction worker from Long Island, just wants to fight. Smith, who operates Team Smith Tree Service with his father, hopes to chop down Maxim Vlasov and win the vacant WBO light heavyweight world title Saturday evening at Osage Casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma (ESPN, ESPN Deportes & ESPN, 10 p.m. ET).
Smith and Vlasov were scheduled for a pre-fight press conference once before, Feb. 11 in Las Vegas. Vlasov tested positive for COVID-19 that day, and their scheduled Feb. 13 fight was temporarily derailed. Vlasov recovered, went home to Russia, and then finished training camp in Las Vegas.
Smith got married, but he delayed his honeymoon to focus on the task at hand. Instead of the bright lights of Las Vegas, they will do battle in the Sooner State in front of a sold-out crowd.
Before fight night, this is what both fighters had to say.
Joe Smith Jr.
“I was 100 percent ready to go back in February, but it’s OK. I had time to enjoy my wedding day and now I’m just ready to go once again.”
“I know what I’m going up against. He is a busy and aggressive guy with a lot of experience, but I have prepared well and I’m going to give 100 percent of myself to come out victorious.”
“Becoming world champion and hearing the words, ‘and new!’ it’s going to be an amazing feeling. This is everything I have been working for since I was 15 years old.”
“I’m sure that you will see no ring rust at all this time. I’ve been preparing well. I’ve been sharpening my skills, and I’m ready to give it my all, 100 percent.”
“I feel the same as a younger boxer who is less experienced because this is a great chance for me. This is a great responsibility, a great risk. I am very excited and motivated for this fight.”
“I have taken preparation seriously, watched many of his fights, and learned some things. I don’t like to talk about his weakest or strongest points or divulge any strategies or plans related to the fight.”
SATURDAY, April 10, 2021
ESPN, ESPN Deportes & ESPN+, 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT
Joe Smith Jr. vs. Maxim Vlasov, 12 rounds, Vacant WBO Light Heavyweight World Title
Efe Ajagba vs. Brian Howard, 10 rounds, heavyweight
ESPN+, 5:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. PT
Jared Anderson vs. Jeremiah Karpency, 8 rounds, heavyweight
Albert Bell vs. Manuel Rey Rojas, 8 rounds, junior lightweight
Robson Conceicao vs. Jesus Antonio Ahumada, 8 rounds, junior lightweight
Trey Lippe Morrison vs. Jason Bergman, 8 rounds, heavyweight
Duke Ragan vs. Charles Clark, 6 rounds, featherweight
Sonny Conto vs. Waldo Cortes, 4 rounds, heavyweight
Jeremiah Milton vs. Jayvone Dafney, 4 rounds, heavyweight
If you’re interested in accessing additional Top Rank imagery available for licensing beyond the photo link above, please go to the following event home pages to license our images:
Event Name: Smith vs. Vlasov — Press Conference
Date: Thursday, April 8, 2021
Link to Images on Getty: CLICK HERE
ESPN+ is the industry-leading sports streaming service that offers fans in the U.S. thousands of live sports events, original programming not available on ESPN’s linear TV or digital networks and exclusive editorial content from dozens of ESPN writers and reporters. Launched in April 2018, ESPN+ has grown to more than 12.1 million subscribers.
Fans sign up to ESPN+ for just $5.99 a month (or $59.99 per year) at ESPN.com, ESPNplus.com or on the ESPN App (mobile and connected devices). It is also available as part of The Disney Bundle that gives subscribers access to Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu for $12.99/month (Hulu w/ads) or $18.99/month (Hulu w/o ads).