In the opener of the Saturday, July 15, 2017 edition of HBO Boxing After Dark, Joe Smith Jr.’s (23-2, 19 KOs) WBC Intercontinental Light Heavyweight title was on the line as Sullivan Barrera (20-1, 14 KOs) rebounded from a knockdown in Round 1 to defeat Smith Jr. in 10 rounds by unanimous decision at the Forum.
Barrera landed good shots in the first round, but Smith Jr. sent Barrera to the canvas with a left hook. Barrera was able to hang on and finish the round.
“In my fight with Shabranskyy the same thing happened. I shoot back up to get the victory,” said Barrera.
In the second and third rounds, Barrera started to out box Smith Jr., landing crisp combinations. Barrera continued to dominate Smith Jr. in the fourth, landing a massive uppercut.
Barrera looked to carry over momentum into Round 5, but Smith landed a clean one-two combination to get him to back off.
“I feel very happy about this win, Joe Smith, Jr. is a great champion, and I respect him very much,” said Barrera.
“This title wouldn’t have been possible with my amazing team, and my father here tonight was also amazing. When Smith Jr. knocked me down in the second round, I got back up cause that’s who I am.”
While Smith seemed to be waiting to land a power shot, Barrera dominated Smith Jr. the rest of the way. Judges scored the bout 96-93, 97-92 and 97-92.