Joe Smith Jr. on defeat to Beterbiev: “I lost my focus”

By Boxing News - 06/20/2022 - Comments

By Dan Ambrose:  Joe Smith Jr. spoke for the first time on Monday since losing to IBF/WBC light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev by a second-round knockout last Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Smith says he lost his “focus” after getting dropped late in the first round by Beterbiev. It was the wrong opponent for Smith to go into a reactionary mode against, looking to ‘get back.’

After getting dropped, the former WBO 175-lb champion Smith reveals that he abandoned the game plan he had for the fight and just wanted to slug it out with Beterbiev (18-0, 18 KOs).

Smith continued to slug with Beterbiev, even after being dropped by him for the second time early in round two.

The alarm bells should have gone off in Smith’s head after being knocked down a second time, but he stubbornly continued to brawl with Beterbiev, who took advantage of the situation.

“I would like to start by saying thank you to everyone who supports me and my career; I enjoy fighting for every one of you,” said Joe Smith Jr. on Instagram, talking about his loss to Artur Beterbiev.

This past weekend did not go as planned as I lost my focus on the game plan after making a mistake that led me to get caught behind my ear, knocking off my equilibrium that I could not recover from,” Smith Jr. continued.

Unfortunately, Smith Jr. couldn’t collect himself and focus on the game plan he had for the contest. Smith Jr. says he wanted to box but never even attempted to during the fight.

Even before the first-round knockdown, Smith went after Beterbiev, trying to score a quick knockout. It looked as if Smith scrapped his game plan from the get-go, and he paid the price.

Again, if this were a lesser fighter, Smith could have gotten away with going into a seek & destroy mode, but this was Beterbiev, who is arguably the #1 fighter in the 175-lb division.

“No excuses. I should have taken a deep breath, relaxed, and returned to boxing. I just wanted to fight, which led me into the same traps,” said Smith Jr.

“I would have loved to bring home all the titles for you. I am going to take some time, stay in shape and decide what the future holds for me,” said Smith Jr.

If Smith continues his career, he will probably have to go through some of the tough contenders like Joshua Buatsi and Craig Richards if he wants a chance to fight for a world title.

Moving forward, it would be a good idea for Smith to fight with more discipline and stick with the game plans that he’s given if he wants to become a two-time world champion.

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