Joe DeGuardia doesn’t believe the WBO will make Joe Smith Jr. against Anthony Yarde next.
DeGuardia, Smith’s co-promoter, informed BoxingScene.com that the WBO has not yet determined whether England’s Yarde is a required competitor for Smith’s light heavyweight title. Smith made a defense of his optional WBO belt on Saturday night, when he stopped Steve Geffrard in the ninth round at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York.
Yarde knocked out compatriot Lyndon Arthur in round four in a December 4 rematch at the Copper Box Arena in London. Frank Warren, whose agency promotes Yarde (22-2, 21 KOs), has repeatedly stated that Smith has to fight Yarde next because the opponent is hard to beat Arthur (19-1, 13 KOs), then was the WBO’s number one contender in a knockout match last month.
DeGuardia told BoxingScene.com: “He is not required right now. “Committees must get together to determine who is required. He won against Lyndon Arthur, who came in at number one, but the sanctioning body had to decide who would be the mandator and if, in fact, Joe would be ordered to hit a mandator. [next]. Because look, if you have a big unification war out there, that might not even be in place. So we’ll wait and see what happens.”
Smith (28-3, 22 KOs), of Mastic, New York, wants a higher match next. His list of successes, in order, are IBF/WBC champion Artur Beterbiev (17-0, 17 KOs), a rematch with WBA champion Dmitry Bivol (19-0, 11 KOs), and a rematch with WBA champion Dmitry Bivol (19-0, 11 KOs). The most lucrative match of all – a showdown of the undisputed super-middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez (57-1-2, 39 KOs).
“I want the big fights,” Smith told BoxingScene.com after beating Geffrard. “[Yarde] is a great war. If we have to make that happen, I’ll accept. But I want the belts and the crown in sterling.”
A unified title fight against Beterbiev would be easier for Smith to secure than a fight against Bivol or Alvarez because Top Rank Inc. by Bob Arum co-advertisers Beterbiev and Smith.
Smith, 32, is expected to defend his title against England’s Callum Johnson on Saturday night. Johnson (20-1, 14 KOs), who withdrew from their fight after contracting COVID-19, replacing Russia’s Umar Salamov (26-2, 19 KOs) as Smith’s opponent mid-month 11 because Salamov was unable to secure a visa to travel to the United States.
Smith and Salamov were scheduled to fight October 30 at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater in New York. However, Smith tested positive for COVID-19 in mid-September and his first title defense was postponed by two and a half months.
Geffrard (18-3, 12 KOs) was an unknown lower-ranking tennis player who sparred with Smith in just eight days. Smith dropped his hometown Boca Raton, Florida, by about 25 seconds into the ninth round, which resulted in Geffrard’s coach, Kevin Cunningham, stopping their scheduled 12th round championship match.
Keith Idec is a writer/senior columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.
https://www.boxingscene.com/joe-smiths-co-promoter-yarde-not-mandatory-right-now-wbo-not-order-it–163501 Joe Smith’s Co-Promoter: Yarde’s Not The Mandatory Now; WBO may not order it