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Joe Smith Jr defends against Umar Salamov on Oct.30th, wants Daniel Jacobs in 2022

Joe Smith Jr, Daniel Jacobs boxing photo

By Dan Ambrose: WBO light heavyweight champion Joe Smith Jr. (27-3, 21 KOs) will be taking care of his obligatory mandatory defense against little known Imar Salamov (26-1, 19 KOs) on October 30th, and then possibly facing former middleweight champion Daniel Jacobs in the first quarter of 2022.

Although Jacobs fights at 168, he’ll move up to 175 to challenge Smith Jr for his WBO title, assuming he doesn’t lose the strap against Salamov in October.

Danny Jacobs (37-3, 30 KOs) hardly rates a world title shot against Joe Smith Jr at 175, particularly given his controversial win over Gab Rosado last November. The fans saw Rosado winning that fight easily.

Had the judges gave the right guy the win, Jacobs would have lost 2 out of his last 3 fights, and it would be laughable for him to be getting a world title shot against Smith.

Smith Jr. vs. Salamov will be taking place at Madison Square Garden in New York. For the 31-year-old Smith Jr, this will be the first defense of his World Boxing Organization title that he captured last April with a narrow 12 round majority decision over Maxim Vlasov.

More fans would likely prefer to see a rematch between Joe Smith Jr. and Vlasov than for him to be defending against the obscure challenger Salamov, who has fought largely no one his entire nine-year professional career.

Joe Smith Jr, Daniel Jacobs boxing photo

Salamov’s best wins:

  • Tomas Adamek – not to be confused with former two-division world champion Tomasz Adamek
  • Doudou Ngumbo
  • Joey Vegas

Basically, Salamov has beaten journeyman his entire career, yet here he is, the WBO mandatory for Joe Smith Jr.

It would be interesting to know what went into the thinking of the WBO organization to install Salamov as the mandatory rather than one of the arguably far more talented contenders like Gilberto Ramirez, Joshua Buatsi Craig Richards.

The good news for Smith Jr’s fans is he’s probably going to win, but the bad news is it’s likely to be a mismatch.

“Very, very much he wanted that fight [against Artur Beterbiev],” said Joe Smith Jr’s promoter Joe DeGuardia to World Boxing News. “Why didn’t he get it?

“You have to ask Beterbiev about that. When all is said and done, we take care of this fight with Salamov, and then what we envision is a huge 2022. “But we are not looking past this guy.

“Salamov is a big strong guy, who’s young and fresh and bigger than Joe.”

One can understand DeGuardia’s frustration at not getting the Beterbiev fight for Smith Jr., but the IBF/WBC champion hasn’t been fighting all that frequently for the last couple of years.

At this point, it’s asking a lot for Beterbiev to fight once a year, and that only leaves him time to satisfy his mandatory defenses.

“Joe Smith vs. Daniel Jacobs fight in New York would be a huge fight. That is something as a promoter I’d like to do,” DeGuardia said.

Smith Jr. vs. Jacobs is a big fight for the New York area, as both guys are from that state and have tons of fans.

Unfortunately, elsewhere the Smith-Jacobs fight means absolutely zero as Jacobs is seen as an over-the-hill guy who has done nothing since his narrow 12 round decision win over Sergiy Dervyanchenko in 2018.

Jacobs lost to Canelo Alvarez in 2019 and has not shown much ambition since then in beating a badly faded Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and the aforementioned Rosado.

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