By David Martinez / dmboxing.com
Lightly regarded light heavyweight Joe Smith Jr. (22-1 / 18 by KO) entered the ring last Saturday night on June 18, 2016 as huge underdog against top rated contender Andrzej Fonfara (28-4 / 16 by KO) .
The result was a first round knockout win for Smith in the main event attraction of the Premier Boxing Champions televised on NBC-TV card at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago.
Fonfara came into the fight winning three bouts (Doudou Ngumbu, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Nathan Cleverly) in a row and was in line for a rematch against WBC champion Adonis Stevenson, which he lost by unanimous 12 round decision in May 2014.
As the fight began Fonfara seemed in control and midway in the round threw a well executed power shots when Smith suddenly connected with a overhand right hand that sent Fonfara to the canvas. He staggered into the ropes, but beat the count, before Smith went in for the kill to send Fonfara to the canvas again with a flurry of a dozen unanswered punches.
Fonfara tried to get up and was certainly in no condition to continue, as referee Hector Afu wisely stepped in to stop the fight. The time 2:32.
This is a huge set back for Fonfara. For Smith it brings new life to his boxing career that started in 2009.
On the undercard featuring two southpaws, Rau’shee Warren (14-1 / 4 by KO) avenged his 2015 split decision loss to Juan Carlos Payano (17-1 / 8 by KO ) with a majority 12 round decision to win the WBA bantamweight title. Two judges had it 115-113 for Warren, the third judge had it a draw 114-114 … my scorecard was a draw.
Warren becomes the first member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team to win a world title.